We live in a time when apathy abounds. Indifference reigns. And self-centeredness is supported, if not celebrated. Christ Jesus predicted, “The love of many will grow cold” (Matthew 24.12). Those chilly hearts are in evidence everywhere.
The tragic truth, though, is that all too often churches look no better. We get preoccupied with our own needs and forget the needs of our neighbors. We focus on filling pews and plates and lose our fervor for pouring ourselves out for the sake of others. We become, in other words, functional apatheists.
And like it or not, outsiders form their beliefs about who God is and what He is like in large part from their impressions about Christians. If Christians act like everyone else, simply trying to guard their turf and get theirs, then the message comes through loud and clear: God couldn't care less about the world—as if He himself were an apatheist. As we well know, nothing could be further from the truth! (“For God so loved the world…”).
A Counter-Attack of Care
This is why we are launching the Heart for Arcadia (HFA) initiative. It's a counter-attack of Christian compassion and care, so that we might overcome apatheism and share God’s heart for the world. We’ve already seen some of the firstfruits of this effort, and now we're taking the next step by intentionally plotting a way forward.
That's where the formation of the HFA task force comes in (see members below). The task force has just begun meeting, but I couldn’t be more excited about the good work that lies ahead. Over the next few months the task force will be working to clarify our HFA goals and—with congregational input and feedback along the way—to develop a plan for moving forward. They’ll be determining what are some critical actions that we can take in order to become by God's grace more fully a people who share His heart for Arcadia and beyond.
Taste & See
Apatheism may be on the rise, but it need not be true of Trinity Lutheran. Indeed, whether our neighbors realize it or not, they are depending on our church not to succumb to it. As we'll be reminded in this Sunday's Gospel, we are "the light of the world" (Matthew 5.14). Hide it under a bushel? No!
For when we as the Church let our light shine and do good works for our neighbors, then the world sees the light of Christ and gives glory to God—no longer wondering whether He himself might be an apatheist. May the Lord grant it for His name's sake!