The first phrase in our vision statement declares that we want to be a Christ-centered community.
The Copernican Revolution truly changed the world.
For most of history, humans believed the earth was the center of the universe and the sun rotated around the earth. But in the 1500s, that idea began to change. Copernicus released his hypothesis in the year that he died that the earth rotated around the sun.
At or around 1610, Galileo began to publically support the idea that the earth was not the center of the universe. This idea did not suit the church very well. It was around the time of the Roman Inquisition and the church denounced Galileo’s premise as heresy. After all in Joshua 10, the sun stood still in the sky, so Galileo’s premise couldn't be correct. Galileo was warned to stop his heresy, which he agreed to do, but 16 years later he published a book that argued that the earth wasn’t the center of everything. He was then tried in the Inquisition, found “vehemently suspect of heresy,” and spent the rest of his life (8 years) under house arrest. But as we’ve come to find out, Galileo was absolutely right and the church was wrong.
But the Catholic church of the 1500s wasn't the only one to put itself at the center of history. It's a common problem we all have, isn't it?
We've been told a lie. We’ve been told that we are the main actors in our lives. Culture tells us this, but even scarier, Christianity has also assumed the same plot.
It’s all about having “your best life now.” We’ve somehow believed the lie that everything is about us. Salvation is about us. Grace is a reward for our works. The church service is about us. We’ve made Jesus out to be a means to our best possible life on earth. Somehow we’ve been led to believe that we are the main actors and that God sent Jesus in order to help our story. Almost as if Jesus is our life coach.
Our church is trying to proclaim another story. We want to acknowledge that God is at the center of God's story and we are not. Too often, churches make individuals the center of the story. We think that God's grace is given to us because of our faithfulness. We mistakenly place ourselves at the center of the universe, which makes us into consumers who are take the place of God at the center of the story. But we are beginning to understand more and more that God is the writer and director and somehow he has graciously written us into his script of redemption. For some reason, God has chosen to use his broken church to redeem the brokenness within all of humanity.
We want to be a Christ-centered church. God is the subject and he enacts the verbs.
In addition, we want to be an authentic community of people.
So many of us live in a world of pseudo-community. We ask how each other are doing each Sunday, and we're shocked when anyone would tell us anything other than "Great!" We've resigne ourselves to seeing church as a masquerade ball. Many of us wear masks to church in order to hide the pain of our lives.
Through connection groups and other ministries, we are striving to become a more authentic church. A church that seeks to find a place for everyone in our community. We, at the Littleton Church, desire for community to break out in more ways in the future.
The Copernican Revolution changed many things. And with God as the central character in our story, we hope he will change many things in our community as well.