Junction: A point where two or more things are joined.
Cross: A mark, object or figure formed by two short intersecting lines or pieces.
Jesus hung on that old rugged cross over 2000 years ago, but you and I were there. Our dysfunction was hung there with him for the whole world to see. The cross was in two simple words Dysfunction Junction.
It was where our sins were joined with his grace and absolved no matter how bad we were going to turn out. Murderers, rapists, thieves, addicts, pornographers, divorcees, these were all the folks we read about that hung around Jesus the most. Why? Because they saw a way out of darkness into light.
Today this is us, those who are ashamed, those with low self esteem, those of us who beat ourselves up continually, and take it out on others. We are at that junction with a daily decision to make. Do I pick up my cross and carry it or do I ignore it because it is too hard to do good? Is it too heavy a burden to be "normal" and fit in with the "church folks"?
For some reason in Jesus day the worst of sinners were the ones he hung around the most, but in today's churches, it seems the ones who claim to be, as did the Jewish leaders of that time, the righteous ones, are the ones who dominate our church attendance. And they tend to look down on those who are like the ones Jesus spent most of his time with. And, because of that turnaround, we somehow feel like we don't belong in a modern day church. Ouch!
What would Jesus think of how we look upon each other and how churches have become like country clubs for those of similar tastes and backgrounds? I don't know for sure, but it is a good guess that he would be appalled and immediately walk back out into the street to find some sinners who needed help. Great to worship, but not so great to exclude the outcasts of society just because it is comfortable to do so. Ouch!
So maybe our churches should be more like Dysfunction Junction where all those who have had severe struggles could come lay down their burdens and find peace. That old rugged cross is our model that pain paid for our gain, that comfort of religion is only a mask for fear of reaching out. I believe the scripture in Matthew says "Go ye therefore" not just stay back and hang around your pals. Nice to be great worshipper, but how about being great disciples and change agents?
Let us join together the points of faith to be a moving cross of hope, encouragement and love and not hammer people with it as they did with Jesus for being so radical. Yes, we still use those nails today, if we forget where our redemption came from.
Dysfunction Junction, where our sins were covered by his grace. We will talk more about this on this Sunday, please join us!
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Glenn is an ex-Marine Viet Nam vet who is also a recovering alcoholic, clean and sober for 30 years. He has been involved in start up and ongoing recovery ministry at North Atlanta Church and Campus for the last two decades. He has a passion for outreach and to spread the message that the answer to lasting and fulfilling recovery from addiction is in a relationship with Jesus Christ. He and the ATB team are available to assist in your questions or needs on an individual basis and will do so maintaining complete confidentiality. You may e-mail him at firstname.lastname@example.org.