Last week I posted on how we, as a community, are increasingly focused on helping Cimarron Elementary School.  We’re a small community, and we decided that going as deep as we can with this one elementary school is enough: it is enough of a challenge as to inspire and not intimidate, we are making enough of a difference without overwhelming ourselves.

Too often, though, as churches embark on projects they forget why they do certain things.  Of course, this phenomena isn’t confined to service projects.  Anyone who has spent considerable time inside a church building has felt this.  There are activities we do or songs we sing or prayers we pray simply because we always have.  Or, I would argue, even worse is when we do these activities out of a sense of guilt.  We have misconceptions about God and about ourselves.  We think God is ready to nail us if we don’t serve or pray enough, and we believe that our lives are meant for dutiful action and heartless sacrifice.

Yet, we are not focused on helping Cimarron for these reasons, or even for the ambiguous and obscure feeling that we ought to be doing something.  God does not need us to do something for its own sake.  He does not need us at Cimarron.  He does not need us to gather every Sunday to discuss and learn and worship.  Jesus, after all, did mention that if we don’t worship the rocks will cry out.  God is big enough to get his due, he is strong enough to change people’s lives.  He does not need us getting in the way.

We focus on Cimarron and on reaching out, because we believe this is the best possible way to live.  We believe that when Jesus came teaching and healing and walking, he told and showed the way to fullest and deepest life.  This life is rooted in following his commands.  This life is rooted in loving God and loving others.  We focus on Cimarron together because the way of Jesus is hard.  On my own, my natural inclination is not toward reaching out.  It is not toward changing the economic status of the poor.  It is not toward being near the broken.  Too often, my own inclination is toward comforts: television, the internet, a nap.  We focus on Cimarron together because we need each other as we follow Jesus.  We need to hear each others’ triumphs and failures, each others’ stories.  We need to pat each other on the back and remind each other why we do this. And we hear it through smiles and laughter, through tears and whispers.

This is the best possible way to live.

We reach out to Cimarron because it is a part of what Jesus gave us: a way to live deeper and fuller lives.  It is only part of living fully, but a crucial part.  And it is a part that we do together, because we believe Jesus meant for us…well, to do it together.  Although God does not need us, he offers us this opportunity: to come alongside what he is already doing, to bring more of his kingdom to this world, to live fully and deeply, in the best possible way.