Flash Mobs and 3 John

I recently mentioned my affinity for flash mobs. Yes, those people who figure out how to choreograph an entire song and teach it to others so that for a few moments there’s one really cool spectacle. I also mentioned how I get a little teary-eyed when I see them–emo, even. You heard right. What I didn’t explain was why.

I preached from the book of 3 John this morning. 3 John is a one-chapter book with only fifteen verses in it. The whole point is this: support those who bring the gospel to others. Gaius (there recipient of the letter) had shown incredible hospitality to itinerant  preachers who were strangers to him (3 John 5). However, Diotrephes went to great lengths to keep these preachers away from the church (3 John 10). While I think about that interchange I have a two thoughts:

  • We take pride in minor things: Many people choose to die upon the wrong hill. They accept the gospel but then add to it a political party, tertiary issue, or some other random conviction that must go along with the gospel in order to accept others. Often times we simply emphasize the wrong thing.
  • We choose preference over Jesus: This is the hard part for me (and goes along with point one). Diotrephes simply didn’t acknowledge John’s authority (3 John 9) and took it upon himself to keep these preachers from the church. It reminds me of how silly it becomes when we ask “who is preaching today” as our determination of whether or not we go worship with our  other brothers and sisters. Don’t like the message? Simply don’t go to church. And encourage others to do the same.
I cannot stand this, yet I know I fall victim to it. We build ourselves up around personalities and forget the gospel. Faithfulness at times takes a back seat to enjoyment–and it is a constant struggle.

That’s why I love flash mobs. I know they are choreographed, and I know people spend a lot of time and money to make them work; but I also know that I rarely–if ever–see people from the church come together to do what is monumentally more important–bring Jesus to others. We divide ourselves up over preference, age, race, income, music, people, and a million other things. All the while the world stands in need of a savior and we can’t stop talking about what someone wore to church.

Without making a values judgment on the Black Eyes Peas (or Oprah, for that matter), I was recently taken aback by how unified this crowd was even for a few minutes. It makes me pray for myself and my family, and it makes me pray for our church. The gospel puts it all on the line–and it certainly asks for more than just dancing around from us. But how huge would it be if we could have a ministry where everyone puts aside there preference to come together for the cause of Christ–and that we cheer others along in it? The world would watch in wonder.

By God’s grace we can. And those who believe also get to take part in an infinitely more glorious time as we worship a risen Christ forever.