“If you want to see God move, then stand up in the church and tell everyone what you’re really like.” – Mary Webster
Not long ago I heard someone say, “I came from a very religious background: we lied to each other incessantly.” One of my favorite church moments of all time happened several years ago in Hawaii when an older Pentecostal saint – a holy woman in all of our eyes – stood up in testimony time and said,
“I have something to say this morning: We come to this church week after week and we get out of our cars and greet each other: “How are you, brother?’ ‘Oh Praise the Lord! God is good!’ ‘Amen! Yes He is, all the time!” That’s what we say in the parking lot. But I’m just sick and tired of it! I want all you people to know that I’m not OK. I am one messed up woman in desperate need of grace. I don’t have it all together, and I’m starving for some honesty! Do you think we could start telling each other the truth around here? That’s the only way we’re ever going to get through this!”
I wanted to stand on the pew that morning and shout! Religion pretends. It masquerades and hides behind makeup, clichés and polite smiles. But the Kingdom simply cannot be built on such illusions and pretense. Jesus demands the raw material of real people, with real struggles, hammering out real community. Kingdom disciples get down in the dirt, confess their failures, stand together, and throw all their trust in the mercy of God, because Grace is the ecosystem of the Kingdom, and Truth is its foundation.
“For the law was given through Moses;
grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.”
– John 1:17