2015-07-28 - Fire!
In the last few weeks, there was a devastating lightning strike at the church where I grew up, both in the faith and literally. The sanctuary was a complete loss, and the educational building was heavily damaged. Of course, everyone knows that the “real” church is the people, and not in a physical building. In fact, in some countries, people normally worship outside, not being able to afford a building. And they have some of the most lively, heartfelt worship services that one can imagine!
But to those who are currently members, as well as those of us who cherish its history, it's still a shock and a huge adjustment. They no longer have a piano or organ to play This was what struck me first, as a musician.), nor songbooks to use for a service. They don't have any place to sit, to “hear what the Spirit has to say” - no pews. They have no pulpit for the preacher, for propping his Bible and notes. No baptismal font for new converts. There are no lovely and inspiring stained glass windows that portray Bible stories, to contemplate while waiting for the service to begin. No blackboards for teachers to use in class. No altar for invitational “altar calls.” No hearing aids for those who can't understand without them.
So what do they have left? They still have their faith. They still have their hope. They still have their love. They have the love of and for God, and the love with each other.
1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV) And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
And they have their fellowship. In addition to the fellowship with each other, they have the support of the “universal church” at large; others are pitching in to help them.
If the material part of our lives were to disappear - our homes burned or stolen by a “sovereign national” (it happens), our appliances or our cars stolen or destroyed - what would we still have? Hopefully the same as the church.
While not neglecting the outer things, let's also shore up the truly most vital parts of our lives, so that we can successfully withstand the fires in our lives.
Janice P. Moser
All scripture references are from the New American Standard Bible (NASB) unless otherwise noted.