It’s unnervingly easy for Christ-followers to gather for worship on Sunday and then, well, that’s it. I don’t think we set out to do it. I think we’re fighting against our fragmented existence. We’d love our lives to be more holistic, but most of us are like a chest of drawers with a drawer for work and career, a drawer for our relationships, a drawer for our leisure activities and so on… As such, we have a drawer for our religious observance and we only open it on Sundays.
Lately our church has been talking about Finding God On Monday. The premise is that while God is so wonderfully present when we gather for corporate worship, when we allow ourselves to be shaped by his word, and when we go to his table, he’s also present out there in our office blocks, classrooms, neighbourhoods, and condominium units (Psalm 24:1). Our reflections have gone further than “you should pray and read your Bible through the week”, as important as that is. In fact, the spiritual disciplines haven’t really been our point at all; that’s another great discussion, just not the one we’ve been having. Instead, the focus of our reflections has been making Jesus known to our colleagues, neighbours, and peers. It’s been about meeting the Christ who is already present on Monday and joining him there. It’s about being guided by the Holy Spirit into encounters and conversations with the people we share the same piece of carpet with for eight hours a day.
As we’ve pondered the approach to this simple yet too often neglected posture, we’ve framed it under the rubric of the leadership offices of prophet, priest, and king. The prophet was the bringer of God’s word. A word about the future, yes, but also a word into the concrete situations of life to draw people to fidelity to God. The priest was the bridge-builder between God and the community of Israel. The priest was the intercessor, not only expressed through the burning of incense but also, for the High Priest, by entering the holiest spot on earth and wearing the 12 tribes on his breastplate as he sought God’s mercy. The priest was the peacemaker. The king was God’s anointed representative charged with leading and governing the nation (1 Sam 8:5), bringing reform (2 Kings 23), administering justice (1 Kings 3:28) and protecting the people as the head of the armies.
The challenge then is to reflect the role of prophet, priest, and king in our places of employment, on our university campuses, and in our schools. It requires a paradigm shift. We need to start to view ourselves as missionaries where we are planted and chaplains to the people God has placed us in close proximity to. We’ve thus been pondering how to bring God’s word to bear in the concrete situations of life. In our culture, to coldly declare “thus saith the Lord” is to create barriers and stoke the flames of an already hostile environment. Nevertheless when colleagues see us show up at the hospital the night a co-worker’s spouse has slipped into a coma; to hear us say we’re praying for another co-workers tumultuous marriage; to watch us walk alongside a colleague struggling with addictive tendencies, is to accept that we’re the office chaplain. And the office chaplain often wins a platform to share God’s word (prophet). Even the colleague with the frostiest disposition toward religion may turn to the chaplain in a time of crisis.
We’ve also pondered the importance of the intercessor (priest). As the neighbourhood missionary, you may be the only person in the lives those living next door who brings them before the throne of the Father. You are it. And what about bringing the shalom of God into your workplace as you play the role of peacemaker between quarreling colleagues? (2 Cor 5:18).
Finally, what would it look like to be an ambassador of the king who seeks to bring his kingly rule to bear in your classroom and on your university campus? To do so is to take seriously the role of protector as you take up the case of those unjustly treated. Additionally, in your organization, it’s to govern and lead well. It’s to drive the organization forward in an ethical manner, seeking to mirror the values of the kingdom to those around you.
As the church gets increasingly pushed to the periphery of Canadian society, it seems the day of the invitation-to-church approach to evangelism is behind us. We need to change the paradigm. In our churches we like to send out and commission our missionaries as they leave to cross oceans. Perhaps we need to start sending one another out to the far corners of the Canadian marketplace too. And as we do so, we don’t just ‘take God into the office’, we meet him there. That’s right, he’s already there. What we need to do is Find God On Monday.