Why We Plant

A painting of Jesus being risen. Circle of Hope celebrates Eastertide. From time to time, I am reminded of why the work of church planting is essential. We’re doing everything we can for people to have a place to meet Jesus in real-time and space. I’m so thankful that we just celebrated our risen Lord on Sunday. I needed that. At this moment in history, all of us could use more time to be reminded of the fact that Jesus overcame death and we rise with him.

I was telling my wife that I feel particularly unprepared for this winter of Western capitalism that we are now entering. I think many of us feel like we’re just not prepared. Not enough skills to navigate this stingy economy. Not enough willpower to do something about it on our own. Not enough cohesion between the have-nots to create a real mass movement. I think that part of the reason I have such a strong feeling of insecurity stems from the fact that I feel like I can hardly relate to so many things that are taken for granted e.g. we are now in perpetual war for peace. I came across a cable news segment that I could be used to by now but I have to admit that I was shocked.

On the television program “Fox & Friends,” the hosts showed footage of “MOAB” being dropped on “enemy combatants” in Afghanistan and set it to music. Then they breathlessly discussed how wonderful it is to see life extinguished in the name of the red, white, and blue. “One of my favorite things in the sixteen years I’ve been here at Fox News is watching bombs drop on bad guys,” Geraldo Rivera said to the camera. Thankfully, I know many people who just can’t relate to that, and I can’t either.

I’m working on meeting more people who can’t relate to it. I’m still not used to this being an acceptable way to talk about the destruction of human life. More importantly, I don’t want other people to get used to that. I think the fact that we continue to plant cells and congregations centered on Jesus is one of the most radical responses to barbarism being normalized. It may sound sentimental but the intimacy of community warms hearts in this winter landscape.

I was reminded of Paul’s words to the Corinthians that we are to wait for the Lord to give judgment of the world. I nor any other human is in a position to execute judgment in such absolute ways. But there is always the temptation to do so and cable news, the successive administrations, and many other cultural influencers tempt us to do so. Thank God for the church and the work of creating community for shelter from this storm. Even so, come Lord Jesus.

-Jerome Stafford

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