Celebrate Recovery is a nationwide ministry focused on helping people recover from addictions, depression, or any other issue one might be struggling with. This last weekend at church, members of celebrate recovery walked on stage with poster boards with their struggle on one side and the victory over that struggle on the other and displayed them in front of the church. It was very powerful.
Wouldn’t it be great if church was an institution built to help celebrate our recovery? So often when I walk into church, I feel like I’m walking into a meeting of Celebrate Having it Together.
Me: “Hi my name is Cody, and I’m doing just fine.”
Everyone: “Hi Cody”
Moderator: “Hello everyone, thank you for coming to Celebrate Having it Together! I want to lay a few ground rules. Please be sure and smile a lot at each other and be up to date on the newest worship songs and Beth Moore bible studies. If you’ve had a bad day or week, make sure you leave those feelings outside of the meeting, we don’t want you bringing down our joy level. Please don’t swear or use any language that might offend or surprise anyone here. Conservative politics are welcome for discussion, but liberal politics may only be discussed negatively or in a joking manner. Please do not offend anyone…ever! Appropriate struggles are not having enough quiet times or not praying without ceasing or not witnessing enough to that dear old friend of yours who is just going through the hardest time. Of course, none of us are perfect, so we can expect these appropriate struggles. Remember, the happiness of our group members is the utmost priority, so whatever we can do to maintain the status quo, the better. Thanks for being here. Punch is in the back!”
Every once in a while, someone may come in and share their gutter to glory testimony, and we would cheer like good Christians and turn to our neighbors, whispering “Praise the Lords” under our breath. But behind our pitying praise, we would all be celebrating the fact that our lives are so together we have no need to share anything.
But do we have it together? Do we really have it together? Are the addictions and struggles, the anxiousness and depression, the sinful habits and selfishness experienced by those in Church any different from the ones I saw displayed last Sunday by Celebrate Recovery? Although I’m so happy things like Celebrate Recovery and Alcoholics Anonymous exist, I desperately wish they weren’t necessary. The church shouldn’t need an outside program to help deal with people recovering from sin. Every church meeting, every Bible study, every morning we wake up underneath the Law of God’s grace, should be a celebration in recovery. But it’s not, it’s a celebration in saving face.
As I learned last Sunday, the first step in CR is admitting the need for recovery. Well, we desperately need recovery. I desperately need recovery. According to their website, the fourth and fifth step is admitting the sin to myself, God, and someone else I trust. It’s time we as a church confess our sins and our inability to manage those sins on our own. So here it goes…
Church: “Hello, my name is the Church, and I am desperately insecure about my own legitimacy in this world. I am a coward who hides behind it’s own piety and rituals. I live a double life and am a cheap imitation of the true church Christ paid for with His blood. I am afraid of the change that will occur when I surrender to God. I am afraid of the people that I would have to spend time with if I truly followed in God’s footsteps. I am afraid of people seeing me for what I am. I am helpless against religiousness. I don’t want to admit that I am just as bad as everyone else, because admitting that would shatter my already fragile ego. My name is the Church, I am a sinner and am in desperate need of help.”
Everyone: “Hello Church, we’re glad you’re here!”