18 Oct Going to the Hospital
I am not the biggest NBA fan around. I will give the playoffs some time, but I don’t normally sit down and watch an entire professional basketball game. I do watch the highlights enough to know which teams are good, and I can appreciate extraordinary talent and ability. Unfortunately, some highlights are lowlights.
Last night the Boston Celtics played the Cleveland Cavaliers in Cleveland to start the new season. There was drama around this game because of a trade between the two teams in the offseason, but what transpired was dramatic for another reason. Gordon Hayward, a star player for the Celtics, jumped and landed awkwardly, dislocating his ankle and breaking his tibia. His foot was actually pointing in the wrong direction (west instead of north). The arena came to a stop as did the action on the court. It was eerie.
As I watched the replay, I felt bad for the player, but not just for the injury. Frankly, because of my own experience with injuries, I am quick to believe recovery is possible. I wasn’t as worried about his prognosis as I was concerned with that moment where he was writhing on the floor…alone.
What got my attention was the reaction of the other players on the court. His teammates…the opposing players…the referees…they all walked in the opposite direction. They were horrified. They walked away. All of them. No one came to help their fallen brother or to console him in his time of need. It was troubling.
What impacted me most about this scene was how much it mirrored the life of the church. People inside and outside of the church struggle with sin. We like to think that we can manage it and get by. We fool ourselves into thinking that the façade of a smiling face could and should cover up the damage sin is causing. Our biggest misunderstanding about church is we think that is how we are supposed to behave.
Our fear is that if we have a misstep and end up on the floor, writhing in pain, everyone will walk away from us, because they are relieved it isn’t them. If this is what you are used to or if this describes the support structure around you, run. Run to Jesus!
Jesus has no part in a church that works that way. That is not how Shoreline works. We may isolate ourselves, but that is not what Jesus wants. We all slip and fall. We all “do the very things we don’t want to do.” But Shoreline is a hospital for sinners not a museum for saints.
To be a hospital, the church must work to fight against the illness of sin. A hospital doesn’t attack the sick folks in their beds, but it seeks to destroy the illness. That is who we are at Shoreline, and we will not leave you to fight alone. We do not expect you to figure it out on your own. We need each other, and we will never stop fighting sin…together.
Blessings to you,