Double Entendre pt II
As a disciple of Jesus, it may be sad to see Christian communities disintegrate, leaving behind their beautiful buildings to rot, or be converted to other uses.
But what is infinitely more horrifying to see, is the abundance of Christian communities who are still in existence but fail at the very mission for which God created the church in the first place.
We are saddened by the Church-turned-storage-unit. But is our church anything other than a place to store Christians for the rapture? Is our functional definition of church simply 'what to do with Christians after they get saved and before they die?' Is church the method by which we hermetically seal ourselves from contact with the outside world? Or do our gatherings, sermons, songs, projects, programs, and buildings serve a greater purpose?
We must heed this lesson; do we exist to pursue God's redemptive purposes on the earth, or are we just waiting for Him let us out of the storage locker we call Church when its time to 'go to heaven?'
We shake our heads at the Church-turned-business-center. We roll our eyes at the Church-turned-music-hall. But is our church anything other than a center for commerce? Do we 'go to church' for any reason other than personal entertainment? Isn't personal preference the real reason we choose a church? Don't we attempt to build our 'successful churches' by creating programs that entertain and meet people's needs?
We need to pay attention here; do we exist to entertain and be entertained? ...do we exist merely to provide and consume religious goods and services?
We are depressed by the Church-full-of-weeds-and-drug-deals, we drive by the ruins with painful hearts. But is there life in our existing communities? ...and lest we mistake activity for life; lives spent examining and proclaiming the value of God, not great music and charismatic experience once a week; broken people restored and lives intimately intertwined, not plastic smiles and plastic conversations on Sunday morning; sacrificial living during the week, not sacrificial giving on Sunday morning; an open table in our living room all week, not merely an open table on Sunday morning.
We must not have our fingers in our ears, nor our hands over our eyes! What is the point of our existing Church communities?
So, in spite of the fact that we should be saddened at the loss of many vibrant communities of faith who have abandoned their post in the City of Buffalo, we should also be grateful for the parable told in stone and mortar, and vigilant that we 'have ears to hear and eyes to see.'
They serve as a reminder to us...