The Corona Christ Part 2
GLIDE Church is a spiritual center of healing, faith, justice and community for everyone. No matter who you are, where you come from or what you’ve been through, you’re welcome here! Celebrate with us online, Sundays at 9:00 and 11:00 am.
Below you’ll find Minister of Celebration Marvin K. White’s sermon from Sunday, May 17, 2020.
The Scripture: John 14:15
“If you love me, you will keep my commandments. And I will ask God, and God will give you another Advocate, to be with you forever. This is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees God nor knows God. You know him, because he abides with you, and he will be in you. I will not leave you orphaned; I am coming to you. In a little while the world will no longer see me, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live. On that day you will know that I am in my Father, and you in me, and I in you. They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my Father, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
As churches fight to reopen, to be recognized as eligible as phase 2 reentry candidates, as churches create reopening plans, they are saying, trying to convince the public that they are a safe space, “Those who are sick, elderly and vulnerable, should stay at home and not come to the opened church.”
How could the people of God, even bang their lips together to say such a thing?
The only interpretation of “Those who are sick, elderly and vulnerable, should stay at home and not come to the opened church,”is that only the healthy looking, young and invincible should return. Here is the thing…Last time I looked, the young and the healthy are staying at home.
The Pew Research Center on Religion and Public Life has found that “the data shows a wide gap between older Americans (Baby Boomers and members of the Silent Generation) and Millennials in their levels of religious affiliation and attendance. More than eight-in-ten members of the Silent Generation (those born between 1928 and 1945) describe themselves as Christians (84%), as do three-quarters of Baby Boomers (76%). In stark contrast, only half of Millennials (49%) describe themselves as Christians; four-in-ten are religious “nones,” and one-in-ten Millennials identify with non-Christian faiths.
Only about one-in-three Millennials say they attend religious services at least once or twice a month. Roughly two-thirds of Millennials (64%) attend worship services a few times a year or less often, including about four-in-ten who say they seldom or never go. Indeed, there are as many Millennials who say they “never” attend religious services (22%) as there are who say they go at least once a week (22%).”
Who will fill the church, will not be the Invincible Ones, because they know that the church that is rushing to reopen, is potentially exposing them to bad theology.
God is not unattractive to millennials, Church is.
And since Bad Theology does not the curve to flatten. Sheltering-In-Place is not anti-god, it is anti-spread of the virulence of ageism, emetophobia-the fear of sick people, homophobia, and aporophobia-the fear of poor people. Never attending spiritual services is not anti-god, it is the way to avoid hate spewed respiratory droplets. Coming back to church in the middle of a pandemic, means coming back to a church of distance, and barriers, and shields, and a church wiped clean of diversity.
“Those who are sick, elderly and vulnerable, should stay at home and not come to the opened church.”
Believers, and non-believers can see through the rouse of jump-starting the church that hides the restarting of the church economic engine agenda.
“Those who are sick, elderly and vulnerable, should stay at home and not come to the opened church,”
The chronically ill, will stay chronically ill. And won’t give. The vulnerable will only become more vulnerable. And won’t give. And the elderly are only getting older. And won’t give. And the church knows, that those who are isolated will feel more isolated. Those who are quarantined will feel as if who they are is too unclean for the church.
But the new church…
And the good news…
And the blessing in the storm…
“For you have the poor with you always, but Me you do not have always.”
Physical distancing should not have been the trick used get people to leave the church, so the church could be gentrified. A church emptied of the ones in whom the Christ found the most favor, is not the “new church”. This rouse misses the mark in dazzling stupidity. It runs in the complete opposite direction of the Christ. It is not heroic. It is not constitutional. It is not the proving ground of faith. It is not the church. It is not a church I want to return to.
I believe the fresh encounter with Jesus is happening over tea and meds. The anointing oil is bacon grease. The Christ Light is an L.E.D. screen. The new church meets people where they are. The new church is an app. The new church operates in the gig economy. The new church gets delivered to your door. The new church sees the delivery people as evangelists, and angels, and saints. The new church does not abandon its people in the middle of a pandemic.
People are sick alone. People are healing alone. People are dying alone. No Christ of mine can ignore suffering. Christ loves a good open house:
The Spirit then entered me and made me stand on my feet, and He spoke with me and said to me, “Go, shut yourself up in your house.
“When Jesus came into Peter’s home, He saw his mother-in-law lying sick in bed with a fever.”
“Now one of the Pharisees was requesting Him to dine with him, and He entered the Pharisee’s house and reclined at the table.”
“When he had left the crowd and entered the house, His disciples questioned Him about the parable.”
“Jesus got up and went away from there to the region of Tyre. And when He had entered a house, He wanted no one to know of it; yet He could not escape notice.”
“And He said to them, “Wherever you enter a house, stay there until you leave town.”
“Whatever house you enter, first say, ‘Peace be to this house.’”
The New Congregate Setting—is intimacy. The church that is not intergenerational, multi-racial, cross-class, mixed-ability, multi-sexual and multi-gendered, will not have a Christ in it. Christ goes into houses. Christ goes into encampments. Christ goes into nursing homes.
Christ goes into hospitals. The Church that is not accepting the invitation into intimate relationship with its people, is not The Church. The Church that is not telling its members, who are willingly or by force, staying home, that they are worth The Christ visiting them, coming to them, calling on them, is not the church. The Sanitized Church is not where The Christ is.
The New Church is “Meeting People Where They Are.” The New Church is online visitations, homecomings and home comings, and reunifications. The New Church is not burying its head in the sands of the bible and ignoring this new reality. The New Church embraces it. The New Church is helping people to find the sacred in cyberspace, in a digital world without borders or walls. A new world with the wisdom of the ages at our finger. And that is shaking the Old Church to its core. Because its undoing is at hand.
The New Church is bidirectional. Is Cyber and In-Person Space. The New Church doesn’t require you to prove yourself. The New Church invites you to go within and not without. The New Church invites you into relationship and not religion. The New Church is not trying to jumpstart the economy. The new Church wants to explore your spiritual economy.
“In a little while the church world will say that you can no longer see me, because you are not in a building, but you will see me; because I live, you also will live.
On that Day of Pandemic, you will know that I am in my God, and you in me, and I in you.
They who have my commandments and keep them are those who love me; and those who love me will be loved by my God, and I will love them and reveal myself to them.”
That is the promise beloved.
In the middle of a lock down, irrespective of firewalls and plexiglass barriers,
“Abide in Me,” the scripture says, “and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in Me. I am the vine,” scripture says, “you are the branches. They who abide in Me, and I in them, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing. And I am is telling you, ‘Those who are sick, elderly and vulnerable, should stay at home and not come to the opened church,’ Because I won’t be there. For If anyone does not abide in Me, they are cast out as a branch and is withered. But If you abide in Me, and My words abide in you, you will ask what you desire, and it shall be done for you. By this My God is glorified, that you bear much fruit; so, you, from wherever you are, will be My disciples.”