This week’s devotions are based on the message: “I Love My Church” Week 1 (LISTEN HERE)
Years ago my brother and cousin and I toured through Europe. As we went through different cities, often the most prominent building in the city was the cathedral. Many of the cathedrals were built centuries ago by master craftsman over the span of 10 plus years. Intricate artwork was found in the masonry work, the flooring, the stained glass, the furnishings and really everywhere you looked there was a message that came to the person who stepped into the building. Individuals labored years at their craft to give their best to the building of the dwelling in which the Lord was worshiped.
Yet the sad things was very few people filled the beautiful buildings. What once was the center of the town’s activity and focus was now an empty shell of craftsmanship and beauty.
To be sure, a building doesn’t define the church or mark the boundaries of the church. But perhaps the building is reflective of the health of the Church in the world today.
The Apostle Paul wrote:
21 In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord. 22 And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.
The Church is the gathering of people connected by faith to the life, death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. Like a master craftsman, the Lord God orchestrated the building of his temple that would be a “dwelling in which God lives by his Spirit.”
I got to thinking, “When a person steps into the middle of a gathering of God’s people, no matter where that gathering is, does that gathering emanate the grandeur and glory of God like the cathedrals of Europe inspire awe and wonder to all who enter them?”
Perhaps not and we need to repent. Perhaps we should and we need the help of God’s Spirit.
God has brought us together in perfect connection to him and others, not to be an empty shell of his Church, but to be the vibrant living manifestation of his love and grace to the world. Like one who enters a cathedral and marvels at the pictures in stained glass, or the ornate wood carvings, or the vastness of the nave the Lord orchestrates the people of his church with different gifts, different abilities, different personalities to shine multiple facets of the glory of God into the world around us.
The cathedrals of Europe unfortunately are very empty of worshippers. One would hope the Church was active in the world around, even if it weren’t in the cathedrals. Statistics would say this too is waning. But that doesn’t mean we simply turn the cathedral of God over to the wrecking ball and let it be destroyed, rather just the opposite. It is the calling of the Church that God has given to be the “salt and light” in our communities; to declare the praise of God to the people around us, and exhibit the beauty of God’s grace all around us.
The world doesn’t need an empty shell of the church, it needs the Spirit of God to be alive and active in the Church to be the influence, the messenger, the servant of God to the people around us and the towns in which we live.
And each of us by God’s grace gets to be a facet of God’s glory, as a member of HIS Church, to the community around us.
Apply: What gets in the way of God’s people showing up in a community as a breathtaking “cathedral” for the Lord?
Prayer: Lord, forgive me for failing to exhibit your glory and grace to the people around me. Enable me by your Spirit to be the part of the Church you have called me to be, displaying your glory and grace at all times. AMEN.