I Know The Motions
Posted: Thursday, July 14
1 Chronicles 16:37-18:17
Verse of the Day:
For merely listening to the law doesn't make us right with God.It is obeying the law that makes us right in his sight. (Romans 2:13 NLT)
Quick. Put your hands in the air. Don’t be shy. If you’re reading at home, you have nothing to lose. If you’re in public, be fearless. Stretch your hands to the sky—upward and out. Now bring both hands together to touch your fingertips to the top of your head. Great. Open that shape to the right lowering your right arm down to your waist. You’re almost done. Now, bring your fingertips back together making a point directly above your head.
Congratulations! You've just completed the motions to the pop culture sensation... Y.M.C.A. You should feel accomplished; you know the motions. (Once we cover the chicken dance, you'll be thoroughly prepared to go roller-skating.) Here's the next question: do you know what the Y.M.C.A is? It's more than a gym. If you look at their website today, you'll see a threefold mission for youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility. Let's rephrase the question: do you know what the Y.M.C.A. was?
The Young Men's Christians Association was formed in 1844 in London. It was essentially a Bible study for young tradesman who had migrated to the city. In 1890, the mission was focused. "Christian discipleship developed through a program of religious education social and physical activities."
The Y.M.C.A. is now in 125 nations and has sponsored programs for over 57 million people. I do not want to undervalue their accomplishments. The track record is impressive, but somewhere along the way, the vision changed. If you visit www.ymca.net, you'll struggle to find the word "Christian" at all. It's not on the homepage, "about us", or "our focus". If you can find "our history" and click "founding", you'll find the only reference to the Young Men's Christian Association. They've done some amazing work, but the suffering of Christ is not an equal trade for physically fit and socially responsible.
Here’s my best guess: I think they started going through the motions. Well-meaning Christians do it all the time. It’s not strategic. It’s not malicious, but it happens. We learn the rhythm and the moves of Christianity. We hum along, and without much effort at all, the life changing gospel begins to sound like a novelty pop song from the 70’s. It’s cute. It’s inoffensive. It’s like swim aerobics for seniors. Who would be against swim aerobics for seniors? It’s certainly less offensive than telling teenagers that Jesus is the only way to get to God. Last question. I promise.