my thoughts on: “The Reason for The Church’s Vital Response to HIV/AIDS”
Many of us, I suspect, have encountered churches that have left us wondering if we ever want to be involved with the church again. Some of us have seen people and churches that identify themselves as Christians but act with even greater ungodliness than the non-Christians around. On the other hand, perhaps even more common, some of us have encountered churches that act out of self-protection or self-preservation rather than out of godly motivation. Some of us have seen churches that are so much like the culture around; we do not know what makes them distinctive from the culture. (Note that the NT addresses church problems in 1 Cor. 1, 5-9, so this is not the first time). However, God calls us to be a distinct community, a representative of Him in this World. Furthermore, let me state that this community is the people of the covenant God, as such it should be distinctively different from the world. First, it recognizes its unfinished nature -- it is still growing into, pushing forwards toward maturity; it is still growing into its mission of blessing and reaching the whole world; it is still growing as it accepts new members -- the cells are being added each day. Second, it is not the way of power and control but rather of weakness and humility. God chooses that which is weak and foolish in the eyes of the world, and he asks us to embody these ways for the world -- going the extra mile, turning the other cheek do not bring us good returns on our investment. This is demonstrated for us in the sacrifice of Christ -- we practice kindness, tenderheartedness, and forgiveness because these were first practiced towards us -- not because we could afford them but because Christ loved us.
The difference is that our culture says, “Put yourself first. Do what feels good.” Yet, Jesus says to us, “Love your neighbor, pray for your enemies, and don’t stop doing good to your brothers and sisters.” The outlook is away from ourselves and towards others. More importantly, we are called upon to sacrifice our own freedoms for others, our rights that which we might demand— why, because it is the way of Christ and it is the way of witness/evangelism.
The Church must realize that God’s People in Community, belong to the kingdom of God, and live as servants of the King, both towards their communities and towards the world. Therefore, we must have a Kingdom Response to our world.
I believe that as the Church (The People in Community), we should be in hopeful pursuit of life-giving reality in four ways, 1. as a growing body (1 Cor. 12; Eph. 4), 2. through weakness and humility (I Cor. 2:2-3), 3. in consideration of others (1 Cor. 8:13), 4. with sacrifice (1 Cor. 9), 5. and in truth with love (Eph. 4).
Moreover, we are a Community of Salvation. The Church is the Community of the Saved, and the Church of Community Serving the Savior. A byproduct of this Community (Church) is Evangelism, as showing forth the gospel (serving the kingdom). Its mission generates God’s people, who constitute as God’s people by their engagement in ‘His mission’. Therefore, the answer to Jesus’ supplication is to “Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:37), which He lays out for us in Matthew 25:31-46…a direct Kingdom response for this Church, at this time, during this crisis!
So, what do you think the Church’s response should be? What are ‘your’ thoughts, insights, and response to this matter? What do you know of that the Church is already doing to respond to this crisis?
For further information and study on HIV/AIDS, check out:
Know any other insightful resources or web sites, please share!
(note: some excerpts are taken from K.C.W. (Dr. Reese) notes)