“Isn’t it awesome seeing the Church being the Church?” Sam commented to me, as we were discussing the Kids Crew Christmas thank you dinner. She didn’t mean this specific church–although Hilton Baptist played a huge part in providing volunteers to make the evening happen. She meant the Church—us, followers of Christ–actually being the body of Christ.
So often churches get caught up in themselves–the color of their carpet, the specific style of worship music, who’s doing the flowers–and often these petty grievances are framed with, “But we want to do all we can to accommodate those outside the church. What will they think?” However, when the Body stops being so introspective and starts doing what its meant to, starts using its hands, feet and heart to be a blessing to others, that’s pretty awesome.
Kids Crew is the name given to the teens from Sweetwaters who help out every Saturday at Jabulani Kids Club. They help play with the kids, lead worship, and then break the kids up into groups and teach a Bible lesson and memory verse. Not something many teens would want to do on a Saturday morning for 3 hours! To say thank you for their commitment we organized a progressive dinner (or traveling supper, or whatever people call it). Various friends of iThemba in Hilton hosted the different courses at their homes.
It was fun playing the silly games and eating the amazing food provided by the volunteers. But my favorite part was seeing the Body in Hilton serving the Body in Sweetwaters. The Trinity has been described by many Christian philosophers (Lewis, Plantinga and Tim Keller) as a dance of self-giving love. Each member in the godhead pouring out service, love and delight into the other. Each revolving around the other, not himself.
Hilton churches delighting to serve Sweetwaters teens, who delight to serve the kids in Sweetwaters who don’t know Christ. That’s how it should be. That’s what draws people to Christ, not the color of our carpets.
The incarnation is all about the body. God coming to us, in a body. God coming for us, breaking his body so we could be with him, so we could be included in the dance. This Christmas let’s all challenge the Church to really be the Church.
“In self-centredness we demand that others orbit around us. We will do things and give affection to others, as long as it helps us meet our personal goals and fulfils us. The inner life of the Triune God, however, is utterly different. The life of the Trinity is characterised not by self-centredness but by mutually self-giving love. When we delight and serve someone else, we enter into a dynamic orbit around him or her, we center on the interests and desires of the other. That creates a dance, particularly if there are three persons, each of whom moves around the other two. So it is, the Bible tells us. Each of the divine persons centers upon the others. None demands that the others revolve around him. Each voluntarily circles the other two, pouring love, delight, and adoration into them. Each person of the Trinity loves, adores, defers to, and rejoices in the others. That creates a dynamic, pulsating dance of joy and love.” [Tim Keller]
Praise God for an amazing Camp! We had great weather, a great speaker, and (we pray) real spiritual growth among the teens. Pray for them these holidays, that they will continue to read their Bibles and grow.