Why The JESUS Gallery
As Jesus passed on from there,
he saw a man named Matthew sitting at the customs post.
Jesus said to him, "Follow me."
And Matthew got up and followed Jesus.
Because meeting – encountering – Jesus changes everything!
Because Jesus did not confine himself to the usual practices. He journeyed from village to village to announce the good news. He spoke to everyone, not just the religious regulars. He spoke from hillside, lakeside from a boat, and at community gathering places like the well, not just in synagogues.
To put Jesus absolutely first. Not church, nor fellowship, nor worship, nor anything else. It was the direct encounter with the man Jesus that led Simon, Andrew, James and John to, on the spot, abandon their boats and follow. So too with Matthew, Nathanael, Philip, Zaccheus, Bartimaeus, the woman at the well, the woman caught in adultery, the good thief, the centurion at the cross, and countless others. And one of the ways we can come to that direct, personal, encounter today is to hear the Gospels proclaimed, especially in live, shared reading of these "primary sources" of the Christian experience.
The hope is for a place that will draw, and be attractive to, all races, genders, ages, backgrounds: a truly welcoming place. Especially unique opportunity for volunteers and visitors to meet folks they would otherwise probably never encounter.
Because the saddest thing in the world for any Christian is that there are many, many people who have never met Jesus.
Because Jesus comes first. Only after Jesus comes church. The Gospels are as fundamental to knowing Jesus as is knowing one’s A-B-C’s to being able to read.
Because the Gospels are “common denominators” to all Christian traditions; we all share them; we can all work together through them.
Because Jesus doesn’t just belong to Sunday mornings or churches.
And if it does work it can be replicated any where, any time. It would be wonderful to see Jesus Galleries in communities everywhere! Temporary Galleries in response to catastrophes or longer-term Galleries for ongoing support and evangelization in communities. How about a JESUS Gallery in the financial district of New York City or in the Federal Triangle of Washington, D.C.! Churches are wonderful and important, but they do not need to have a monopoly on presenting Jesus.