Growing up, two of my best friends were also named Jason. As you can imagine, it was sometimes confusing when talking about the three of us, so we all started using our initials as a sort of nickname. At first, JC was just my initials, but then when I went to school it also stood in place as my location—Jason in Chicago.
The church has received a number of nicknames over the years, especially the Lutheran variety. I’ve heard names like the “Frozen Chosen” because we come off as cold and distant. I’ve also heard “Holy Rollers” or “Bible Thumpers” to indicate that we think we are better than others.
It’s sad to think that this is how people view the church. Obviously, the actions of many churches over time have led to these terms to describe the church. I think they are all rooted in the belief that too many church-goers seem to not want the “less desirable” people of the world associating with them.
You know, if “those people” would get their act together and stop sinning, they’d be welcome here. Or if they “shape up” and start acting nicer, we’d be happy to have them. Of course, this thinking is incredibly wrong, but all too pervasive in the church at large.
Once you were not a people, but now you are God’s people; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy. 1 Peter 2:10
Ironically, God could have said the same about you and me. The perfect and holy God did not wait for us to get our act together, but instead stepped down into our mess and restored the relationship with our loving Creator that we had destroyed. He met us where we were and continues to do so.
Doesn’t He call us now to do the same? God is inviting you to reach out to the “undesirable” people, the “messy” people, and meet them where they are, always sharing the hope that you have in Jesus and His restoring grace!