"Change the World"
The phrase "change the world" is a common one in our day. In one way or another, it seems everyone wants to do so.
Type that phrase into Google and you’ll get 206 million results in a search that takes less than a second. Included are more than 50 million news stories (including how new earphones will "change the world"), 4.5 million videos (including Eric Clapton’s song, "Change the World"), and well over 4 millions books (including James Davidson Hunter's To Change the World: The Irony, Tragedy, and Possibility of Christianity in the Late Modern World - it’s on my reading list for… well, someday).
All that from just three little words: change the world.
Do you want change the world? If so, what would you change?
And, almost as importantly, how would you do so? In other words, what’s the catalyst that would inaugurate the change you’re seeking?
Would you record a song? Write a book? Start a podcast?
Think about it for a minute: You may notice that the thing you want to change is closely tied to how you would change it.
Earlier this week, I was reading from Lesslie Newbigin’s book The Household of God, in which he engages Jesus’ own process of changing the world. He writes,
There is an actual, visible, earthly company which is addressed as 'the people of God', the 'Body of Christ'. It is surely a fact of inexhaustible significance that what our Lord left behind Him was not a book, nor a creed, nor a system of thought, nor a rule of life, but a visible community… He committed the entire work of salvation to that community. It was not that a community gathered round an idea, so that the idea was primary and the community secondary. It was that a community called together by the deliberate choice of the Lord Himself, and re-created in Him, gradually sought - and is seeking - to make explicit who He is and what He has done. The actual community is primary: the understanding of what it is comes second.
It’s a pretty radical realization. While we now have the God-inspired Christian Scriptures and the creeds of the church, alongside 2000 years of church history, it all started with this tiny little group of ordinary people. That was Jesus’ plan A - and there was no plan B! Ordinary men and women inspired by His own Spirit to
go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything [He] commanded. (Matthew 28.19-20)
That little ragtag group of ordinary men and women was nothing less than Jesus’ plan to change the world.
In that sense, I don’t think it’s too much to say that when we gather in rows on Sunday mornings and in circles during the week, we are continuing that mission - changing the world.
As a later teacher who was inspired by the teachings of Jesus, said, “Be the change that you wish to see in the world.”
May we be that change this week, this day, this hour, as we grow deeper into community with one another.