DayBreaks for 04/18/12 – What We Having Going For Us
John 20:26 (NLT)
Eight days later the disciples were together again, and this time Thomas was with them. The doors were locked; but suddenly, as before, Jesus was standing among them. “Peace be with you,” he said.
I must say that “church” in the south is very much different than where we used to live in California. We lived in the second least-churched county in the United States. It was a county were people were into fine foods, dining, wine, leisure activities, etc. Generally speaking, they weren’t into “church” or religion at all.
Not so here in the South. Here we find big churches on nearly every corner. It is the exception to see a small church building. There are many churches around us that are large enough that it requires a police presence on Sunday mornings in order to direct traffic so people can get in and out of the parking lots. The large churches here appear to have it all. I’m not judging them in any way.
Other churches, however, appear to have absolutely nothing. Look for example, at the church we see immediately after the resurrection of Jesus. It is a small handful of disciples, hunkered down in an locked-door room It is not a pretty picture. Jesus, prior to his death, tried to prepare them to be a fellowship of faith, of profound love with the doors open and the welcome mat always out, but that’s not how we see them on Easter morning. They were to be the people who would head out boldly into the world to bear fruit, people full of the Holy Spirit performing even greater works than Jesus himself (John 14:12). But that’s not how they were on resurrection morning. We find the early church cowering in fear, hoping nobody will find out where they are. We are seeing the church at its worst – afraid, discouraged and on the defensive. If this group of Christians were to place a church ad in the paper, what could it say? “The friendly church where all are welcome”? No, not unless you think locked doors are a sign of hospitality. “The church with a warm heart and a bold mission”? I doubt it. It’s more like the church with sweaty palms and a timid spirit.
John’s gospel shows us a church with nothing – no 1-, 3—or 5-year plan, no promise, no program, no flashy youth group, no preaching, nothing. In the final analysis, this scared band huddled in the corner of a room with a chair braced against the door had only one thing going for it: the risen Christ. And that seems to be the main point of the story. This is ultimately a story about how the risen Christ pushed open the bolted door of a church with nothing, how the risen Christ enters the fearful chambers of every church and fills the place with his own life – a life that changed everyone inside – and out.
PRAYER: Appear to us, Lord, as to your church in those early days, stir us to boldness and action, and may we never settle for anything less or anything more than Jesus! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright 2012 by Galen C. Dalrymple.
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