Why is Christianity more like a peach than an orange?
On Sundays the church gathers together and supports one another in praise, prayer, learning and fellowship. But the rest of the week each individual member is out on their own. In work, in school, shopping, playing sports, so much of our lives is spent with non-Christians. But we are still the church, whether we are gathered or scattered.
Most of us find the thought of evangelism daunting, like going over the top in the First World War. There is a frontline for each of us, but it’s not a battle, it’s just where we are through the week, where we interact with non Christians. Where is your frontline?
Most of us find it a struggle and we’re failing more than succeeding. Let’s look at some post-resurrection experiences of the original disciples, they were really struggling.
The Emmaus Road
Now that same day two of them were going to a village called Emmaus, about seven miles from Jerusalem. They were talking with each other about everything that had happened. As they talked and discussed these things with each other, Jesus himself came up and walked along with them; but they were kept from recognizing him. He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?” They stood still, their faces downcast …
When he was at the table with them, he took bread, gave thanks, broke it and began to give it to them. Then their eyes were opened and they recognized him, and he disappeared from their sight. They asked each other, “Were not our hearts burning within us while he talked with us on the road and opened the Scriptures to us?” (Luke 24:13-33)
The two on the Emmaus Road were hopeless – things had not worked out the way they expected. Jesus came even before they expressed their hopelessness and he walked with them.
Mary at the tomb
At this, she turned around and saw Jesus standing there, but she did not realize that it was Jesus. “Woman,” he said, “why are you crying? Who is it you are looking for?” Thinking he was the gardener, she said, “Sir, if you have carried him away, tell me where you have put him, and I will get him.” Jesus said to her, “Mary.” She turned toward him and cried out in Aramaic, “Rabboni!” (which means Teacher). (John 20:14-16)
Mary met Jesus at the tomb but didn’t recognise him. She lost sight of Jesus amidst her doubts and questions. Jesus doesn’t move on to better disciples, he stays with her through the questions and worries. We may feel very alone with our own concerns. Knowing someone is praying is not enough. Jesus was there even before she recognised him,and he called her by name.
The Locked Room
On the evening of that first day of the week, when the disciples were together, with the doors locked for fear of the Jews, Jesus came and stood among them and said, “Peace be with you!” After he said this, he showed them his hands and side. The disciples were overjoyed when they saw the Lord. Again Jesus said, “Peace be with you! As the Father has sent me, I am sending you.” (John 20:19-21)
Jesus appeared in the upper room, where the door was locked. Jesus came and stood among them and said, ‘Shalom.’ He gave them his peace. Then he equipped them for mission.
To return to our original question – An orange is segmented, but a peach is one whole. We segment our lives, but they should be whole. Putting your life into compartments doesn’t work like that. Jesus is with you in everything, every day.
Let’s fall in step with Jesus, listen to his call, live in his peace. Be equipped for our frontline.
[based on a sermon by Peter Orphan at Pantygwydr Baptist Church]