Sermon Illustration: Treating Church Like a Dance
I found this thought from Jared Wilson’s The Imperfect Disciple helpful the next time I preach a sermon on community and/or the purpose of the local church.
The community called the church, then, moving according to the rhythms of the kingdom, is like a great big dance.
But if you’re like me you hate dances – great big ones, especially. If you’re like me, you approach the dance as one who wants to look like he belongs there without really participating too much. You want to stand against the wall, bobbing your head to the music while not actually getting onto the floor. Because then you’d look like an idiot.
And alot of people try to do church like that. Just enough involvement to not get hassled about not being involved but not enough involvement to actually be involved. A lot of disciples flit around the periphery of church life, showing up when it’s comfortable, pitching in when it’s convenient, speaking up only when we stand to lose something. Steve Timmis and Tim Chester say that most Christians love the idea of community – until it begins to infringe upon their decision making.
And we wonder why our walk with Christ never really seems to take off. We treat the church the way we hope Jesus never treats us, keeping us at arm’s length because we’re weird or messy or socially awkward. (128)
And when grace takes over a church? When grace changes the conversation? When we stop sucking in our guts, stop with the religious preening, and stop hanging around the margins, tapping our foot with our back to the wall? When we take a chance, get out and dance our dorky dance, and risk looking stupid in front of each other in order to finally, at long last, be ourselves?
Okay, sometimes we’ll get laughed at. Sometimes it goes badly. . .But it’s worth taking the risk because many times our honesty and transparency liberate others from their own prisons of “having it all together.” (134)