While the season of Lent can, for many, conjure a time to meaningfully engage in the “smells and bells” traditions of Christian worship, there’s a different sort of aroma with which I am dealing. My fuel tank is on empty – or at least the “low fuel” light is on – and the cotton-pickin’ season hasn’t even begun.
At moments such as this, it becomes abundantly clear that the church as an organization is, in many ways, diametrically opposed to the church as the body of Christ. The organization of the church demands meetings, excellent customer service, business administration, and capitulation to the desires, whims, and complaints of the clientele (read: members).
The body of Christ demands a singular allegiance to Jesus Christ. It’s about taking up one’s cross and following. It’s about prayer and healing and reflection on God’s Word. It’s about turning a blind eye to market success and the current trends. It’s about the freedom that comes with the deliverance from sin, death, and the devil that Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection bring. And it’s foolishness in the eyes of the world, just as God promises.
Unfortunately I’ve been completely caught up in the organization and have been sorely neglecting being a part of the body of Christ. So perhaps my Lenten discipline will be giving up my slavish devotion to people-pleasing, making the organization hum, and meeting everyone’s demands. Although Lent is, for many church professionals, the most dreaded time of the year, what with the increase in commitments and demands, maybe we can break free of all that stands in the way of that singular allegiance to Jesus Christ.
Then the Lent fumes I will enjoy are my prayers rising up like incense before the Lord (Psalm 141:2).