John in the Church
As I read Wes Howard-Brook’s summary of John’s Gospel, I was struck by the images of a loving community he wove. Here is a community to be committed to loving and to sustain us as we go out into the world around us. I would love to experience church life as ordinary, as a chance to engage in natural life rhythms that sustain us through the rest of our lives. As a pastor, I would love to create a church community that felt like a place of rest in the midst of a chaotic world, where people go to rest from their busy lives, receive comfort from the wounds they have received during the week, and to receive strength to go back to their homes and workplaces and witness Christ’s presence there. However, I have never experienced church feeling like that, nor do I think many people have. Church is one more thing to get up in the morning for, another small group after a long day at the office, and another soup kitchen to volunteer at after taking care of a family all week. Church often feels like one more demand on us, taxing our energies, and taking up our already full schedules. Perhaps John’s Gospel is an antidote to that. Of course, when preaching John we proclaim the love of God that brings us to the rest of His people. Yet is there something more we could do? Can the Gospel of John be used in ways outside of the pulpit and even outside of teaching which helps engrain its culture into the life of the church? I wonder if we do Scripture a disservice when we only talk about preaching and teaching it. Is there a way it can be used in more subtle ways throughout the entire life of the church to help form a culture which accords with John’s community?