Almost 4 years ago as our son left for Japan he put his car in storage at his aunt’s house. Not knowing how long he would be in Japan he added fuel stabilizer to the gas tank and covered it. And there it has sat – only started occasionally.
We now have to move it back home. Having checked it out (see Shifting Gears below) we discovered that the clutch is not working. It is probably a rusted bearing in the clutch mechanism. I went back there recently to put some “miracle oil” into the clutch to see if that marinating in there for a while could break through the rust and get things moving again.
It got me thinking… Here is a car where the engine works fine. There is power and the ability to move forward but the flaw is in the ability to transmit the power from the source (the engine) to accomplish the task of motion. While the transmission itself (gears, axles, etc,) works, the linkage does not so it does not move. We are unable to transmit the power from the source to where it is needed to accomplish the desired movement.
It reminds me of the state of the church. We have a source of power in our relationship with God. That could provide the church, our children, our friends and family with power needed to move ahead in their lives as they confront the challenges and trials of life. But we have problems transmitting that power to others. We seem unwilling or unable to share our faith in real and compelling ways. The power is there and the need is there. The fault lies in our rusted abilities to share our story in non-preachy, non- judgmental and compelling ways in order to invite other to give it a try. We often are reluctant to share our faith story with others – afraid of ridicule, afraid of being labeled a fanatic; or afraid of rejection. We feel we need o be scholars, or ordained, or better disciples, or any of a dozen similar excuses.
We are the frozen linkage. What sort of “miracle oil” do we require to be able to break free and begin to transmit the power from the source to the need?
Perhaps we need to become comfortable with talking about our faith journey. With sharing what has led me to believe and to follow. Perhaps we need to rely less ojn words and to become the living Gospel other will “read” as they observe us and then ask questions about why we live the way we do. Perhaps me need to become less self-conscious and begin to share what we love with those whom we love as we do so easily with other less important things.
We may be the body of Christ in the world but unless we free ourselves up from the rust and corrosion of inaction and being inarticulate we will not be able to effectively transmit the source of our power to those who so desperately need that power of love, strength and compassion.