And they are beginning to realize that the world they live in is a place where the right thing is often hard, sometimes dangerous, and frequently unpopular. —Lois Lowry, Number the Stars
There’s often a lot of planning that goes into our comfort level at churches. A team discusses acoustics, chair color, and flower arrangements. We talk about lights, cameras, and action. Church services can feel like productions arranged around your comfort in the hope that you’ll encounter Jesus.
Question: Since the latrines, executions, and neighborhoods of the sick and diseased were outside the camp, where do you suppose God told Moses to set up this tent of meeting?
Answer: Outside the camp—among human disease, death, and defecation. Why?
Inside the camp, once considered holy, had become defiled by idols. So God told Moses, “If you want to find Me, leave the camp.”
This whole scene prefigures what Christ did on the cross. He left the camp so we might find Him. Listen, if you want to find Jesus, you’ve got to leave the camp and go to an unpopular place. The in-crowd is not inside the camp; the in-crowd is outside the camp.
Let us, then, go to him outside the camp, bearing the disgrace he bore. For here we do not have an enduring city, but we are looking for the city that is to come. (Hebrews 13:13-14)
Why would we leave the comfort of popularity? Because we can tell when Jesus is no longer working in the lives of the community we’re in. Exit the gates, kneel in the muck, and be like Jesus.
Jesus, it’s terrifying to think about leaving the mentality that exists inside the camp. This is safe. It’s familiar. It’s what I’ve known but, you’re out there, so I will be too. Amen.