“No longer believed to be sacred”
By Pastor Rasheed Z Baaith
“You shall be holy, for the LORD your GOD am Holy.” (Leviticus 19:1)
Resurrection Sunday, which many of us call Easter, was last week end. It is the most sacred and holy day of the year for the Christian Church. It celebrates the foundation of our belief, which is that Jesus Christ was crucified, died and rose from the grave. And in that dying and resurrection His sacrifice paid for the sins of all those who would believe He was indeed whom He said He was: the Son of God.
In the Christian Church of the past, the Church so many of us grew up in, Resurrection Sunday was observed with songs, services, children reciting speeches (many of us could not remember), passionate sermons, dinners and more. The observances, no matter what form they took, were all held with an aura of sacredness. That cannot be said of how the Church observes the Resurrection today or even Jesus Christ.
In its haste and determination to attract as many people to the pews as possible, the Church has become afraid to preach Christ as the center of its being and the only real attraction. Recently I heard a pastor say, “We have decided to make our transformed selves the reason people should come in church doors because we are afraid to preach Jesus.” I agree.
Many of our pastors and church leaders don’t believe that Jesus is modern enough, contemporary enough, and attractive enough to draw non-Christians to our services. So there is an exaggerated identity of too many pastors; there are traditional services and contemporary services; there is the Gospel choir and there is the choir that sings other stuff; there are services where there are people but not families because the children are in a service of their own. Yet, how will they learn how to behave in church during a service or experience worship that is full and anointed? As children, we may not have been able to explain what was going on but we sure knew it was something special. Later we learned what we had experienced was something called sacred.
If the center of what any church is doing is not teaching people of the sacredness and unimpeachable Divine Character of Jesus Christ, then that church is just a social gathering. It is not a church earnestly “contending for the faith.” And if we now believe that Christ alone cannot hold the congregations and exert a pull on the spirits of those we invite, then we have lost the very essence of our Faith.
There is nothing wrong with churches being on the internet or live streaming, or being on the radio or on television. Nothing wrong with pastors writing books or holding conferences, being on panels or participating in interviews. Yet, whatever is being done has to be done with Jesus Christ being the focal point of all that is said or done. And that Jesus has to be theologically stable and historically correct. It cannot be a Jesus that fits into the image of what people want Him to be because His true Self is not present-day enough.
He has to be seen as Holy, Sacred, immovable in His moral expectations and while compassionate in His understanding of our faults, be expectant that our belief in Him will bring a transformation of who we are into what He expects us to be.
That expectation is that we be holy as He is Holy.
Really think about it.