Henri Nouwen wrote the following in the nineties:
“I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love. The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God’s word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created us and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.”
I disagree slightly with Mr. Nouwen. I believe the church (institution) is already deemed irrelevant by the country and the culture. Not only irrelevant, but viewed with disdain and coming hatred. Henri Nouwen predicted it would be the Christian leader that will be called to be irrelevant. Presently the country and the world attempt to dismiss or ignore the church and its ideas as irrelevant. And yet they are scared. They are desperate to eliminate the truth. But the truth resides in each of us that follow the way the truth and the life.
Next Wednesday is not the beginning of the war on Christianity in America. It began 160 years ago and spread to this country at the start of the 20th century. (Blog May 2014). It is the next step in the systematic attempt to remove the truth of Jesus Christ. Donald Trump got in the way briefly. Next Wednesday the momentum will build to censor, isolate, silence, and even incarcerate followers of the truth. While the leaders of the culture deem the church irrelevant, they are at the same time petrified of its influence. In the hearts of non-followers is the relentless still small voice that challenges behaviors every day. But even with undaunted, intense, daily determination eliminating the conscience is futile. I believe it is why we are witnessing insanity unfold before our very eyes.
Next Wednesday will not be the return to “normal”, the “staus quo”. There will not be a coming together in unity. It’s impossible. Truth and evil cannot compromise, join together, become one in cause or idea. Evil must be eliminated. The cosmic battle between good and evil came to earth the first Christmas night. On Easter Sunday morning, the battle was over. But the war has continued on and is about to engage this country and the world with immeasurable intensity.
Here I agree with Henri Nouwen. If in fact the culture views the church as irrelevant it has underestimated the true church. We are the church. They may believe they can attack the institution and all will cower and collapse. That will be a serious and critical misjudgment. Jesus lives and breathes in the heart of every follower. Take one away, fifty more will take their place. Not with arms and weapons. Not with marches and protests. Not with acclaim and notoriety. But with as Nouwen says, “The great message that we have to carry, as ministers of God’s word and followers of Jesus, is that God loves us not because of what we do or accomplish, but because God has created us and redeemed us in love and has chosen us to proclaim that love as the true source of all human life.”
That will never be destroyed. We may lose followers in the process. We may face persecution (I never believed I would see it in this country my lifetime). The world may see us as irrelevant but they are scared silly of the love in our hearts. Be ready to carry that love to the broken, the wounded, the enemy. It makes us totally relevant in the Kingdom of Christ.
“Behold, and hour is coming, and has already come, for you to be scattered, each to his own home, and to leave me alone; and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me. These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation, TAKE COURAGE, I have overcome the world.” John 16:32-33