Donald Miller tells the true story in his book, Blue Like Jazz. Miller and his friends built a confessional booth right in the middle of the campus so their atheistic classmates could sit down and listen to these Christians confess the sins of the church to them.
Their first customer was Jake, a young man with a postmodern smirk. He could not believe that these Christians were going to confess to him. “Confess what?” he asked. “Everything,” replied Miller. “Explain.” “There’s a lot, but I will keep it short,” began Miller. “Jesus said to feed the poor and heal the sick. I have never done very much about that. Jesus said to love those who persecute me. I tend to lash out, especially if I feel threatened…. Jesus said not to mix spirituality with politics. I grew up doing that and it got in the way of the central message of Christ.” And he went on to the Crusades, and slavery, and treatment of the Indians. “It’s all right, man,” said Jake, very tenderly, his eyes watering. “I forgive you.” By the time the party was over, these Christians had confessed the sins of the church to dozens of people, and out of that came four Bible studies, ongoing relationships, and a number of conversions.
Back to Acts 2. On that first Sunday, there was a lot of joy. The day began with that mighty wind, those tongues of fire, and speaking in tongues, and it ended with the church. When all that commotion attracted a crowd that looked like the United Nations, Peter launched into an amazing sermon about Jesus death and resurrection. As he preached, the Holy Spirit pierced the hearts of the crowd, so that they were convicted of their sin, convinced of the truth of the Gospel, converted to the Christian faith and baptized. And with that, the New Testament church was born. It was the joyful conclusion of Pentecost, exactly what God had in mind when he poured out the Holy Spirit on all the disciples.
If church is not a source of joy, something has gone very wrong.
Is it that we can’t confess our sins – to ourselves, let alone unbelievers? Is it that somehow when we come to church we want to be told how good things are, rather than hear the truth about what we need…Christ? Have we stopped longing for the Holy Spirit to “pierce our hearts”?
[fusion_fontawesome icon=”adjust” circle=”yes” size=”medium”/]Joy in the Church Blog Series