Tonight, we had a movie night. Since Jacob's Well uses the High School auditorium, we decided it would be fun to make good use of the movie theater style seating, screen, and projector. We had dinner, dessert, popcorn, and candy. The worship band rehearsed/played for us. Then we watched a movie called Second Chance.
It has Michael W. Smith as a lead character, and it is about how his church planting father sends him to "observe and learn" in an inner city church plant that had been part of the father's early ministry and remained part of the overall organization as a mission outpost.
I was surprised by how well done it was. It seemed a bit long. But it really did a good job of raising questions about the nature of church, and what ministry really means. It was a not so subtle critique of suburban (white, wealthy) church losing its focus on the mission and turning insular. Basically, Smith's character loses his blinders and comes to see the "hood" as the place where Christ is present...among all of the drugs and violence is risky, selfless love.
It seems from where I sit, that Protestant Christianity is re-examining what it means to be church, and what really matters. How appropriate that tomorrow's gospel lesson is the temptation of Jesus. Luke's account in chapter 4 says that he was led into the wilderness by the Spirit. There he was tempted by the devil to turn stones into bread (to which Jesus replied "One does not live by bread alone"). Then he was tempted to have authority over all the kingdoms of the world (to which Jesus replied "Worship the Lord your God, and serve only him"). Finally, the devil used verses of Scripture to tempt Jesus to throw himself down from a high pinnacle and prove God's protection (to which Jesus replied "Do not put the Lord your God to the test")
One of the important ways Jesus survived the temptations was by remaining focused on his mission, his purpose, and focused on God. Also, the wilderness formed him into the person he was created to be. It was after this wilderness time that he began preaching. His first sermon? "The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor."
Between the movie and the Scripture for tomorrow, the message I see is that keeping focused is vitally important...and that focus has a lot to do with the poor, captives, blind, and oppressed.