This is not a show I have regularly watched — in fact, we decided it was a show we wouldn't watch because the humor and story lines were built on lives out of control as families imploded from the lack of direction, purpose, morals, and genuine hope. But, this episode of "Desperate Housewives" caught my attention from the previews.
One of the housewives is truly desperate for some answers. She has survived cancer and a tornado and she doesn't understand why she gets to survive to be with her kids and husband who need her. She is drawn to church to try to get some answers about God and what is going on in her life and what He is wanting to do with her. However, she hasn't been to church before and she doesn't know how she is supposed to act in the worship time. What happens basically shows her frustration with wanting some hope and help from God and the church folks responding by ... well, just doing church by their unexplained rules. No one, including the minister, knows how to respond to her. Yet underneath is a genuine need, maybe even a yearning, to find God and get some help and hope from Him.
What are we to do with a searching and seeking world that doesn't know the right questions to ask or the way to "behave" in church? What do we do with people who are seeking, yet don't even know the "acceptable kinds of questions" to ask in church? How do we remove the cloak of mystery and how do we pull down the walls of secrecy that keep people in the dark to the love of their yet to be discovered Savior? How do we keep from being irrelevant to the people who are desperate to know God?
As Paul tries to help a bunch of confused new believers in Colossae, he talks about the mystery of God that had been hidden for ages, but was now revealed for everyone (Colossians 1:24-29; Colossians 2:1-3). This mystery is NOT supposed to be a secret! These new believers shouldn't let anyone tell them they needed some secret knowledge or rigorous rituals and additional rules or additional worship days to add to the simple and astounding truth. And what is this great secret? What is this great truth? "Christ in you, the hope of glory ..." (Colossians 1:27 TNIV) "... in whom are hidden all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge" (Colossians 2:3).
I love how "The Message" paraphrases this:
God wanted everyone ... to know this rich and glorious secret inside and out, regardless of their background, regardless of their religious standing. The mystery in a nutshell is this: Christ is in you, therefore you can look forward to sharing in God's glory. It's that simple. That is the substance of our Message (Colossians 1:26-27).
Okay, so how does that help us with the questions the world is asking us? Who can help us know how to respond to people who don't know our religious rules? Who can teach us to give hope to folks who feel church is irrelevant?
Simple. We are driven back to Jesus. We are to listen to His voice and do what He calls us to do. Even more importantly, we are to listen, speak, love, touch, care, and cry with others like Jesus did. The failure of the "What Would Jesus Do?" fad was not that it was a fad, but that most who wore the bracelets didn't take time to find out what Jesus actually did. They were seeking answers inside themselves just like the often well-intentioned but self-destructive non-believer. Yet the largest chunk of our New Testament is about tearing down the veil of secrecy that separates us from God and revealing the mystery of grace in Jesus.
And what would Jesus have done with our desperate Housewife? Oh sure, our quick and easy answer is that the Lord would instantly heal her cancer, but by her visit to church, this is pretty much already happened. So I want to challenge you to go back to the gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament) and take a closer look at how Jesus responded to folks — then share an answer or two with all of us based on What Jesus Did! Oh, and I'll share some of my response with you a couple of days from now on my blog if you will share yours!
Please share your insight with how Jesus would respond to our desperate housewife if she went to church, didn't know what to do, was treated as if she didn't belong, and found Jesus in the foyer of church on her way out the door. You can post it on my blog: