Sunday, July 29, 2007

A Symbol

Sabbath Blog #27

If you come to worship at The Hill Baptist Church today, this is what you will see. The church's steeple is sitting on the sidewalk in front of the sanctuary. That's because we've been fighting a roof leak for years. In an effort to repair it, the steeple was taken down with a crane so that the decking beneath the steeple could be repaired. Hopefully that will take care of the problem. If all goes well, the steeple will be lifted back into place early this week.

That steeple sitting on the sidewalk has become something of a symbol for me.

Our God is an incarnational God. Amazingly, God came to us in human form in the person of Jesus Christ. Having come in human form, he lived a servant life and died a sacrificial death and experienced a triumphant resurrection. But it all started with the Son of God leaving his heavenly place and entering this world of human woe, joy, toil, pain, love, hurt, and fear.

Too often the Church, like the steeple on the top of the building, tries to stay above it all; it settles for remaining aloof from what's going on in out in the world. As a friend of mine said, too many preachers are trying to answer questions that no one is asking.

There is a part of me that would like to leave the steeple on the ground. There, it could symbolize for us the fact that the Church is the Church only when we are out there in the world. We can try to answer the questions that are actually being asked when we get out there where the questions are. We are called to incarnational ministry. We are called to be out there among the fears and joys that are taking place all around us. We are called to do what our Lord did: live servant lives and give ourselves up for the sake of God and for the sake of others. On the other side of it all there will be resurrection, but for now, there is ministry, love, compassion, and grace.

Oh, we will put the steeple back where it belongs. But I hope we'll remember those few days that is sat on sidewalk so that we can be reminded that the Church is the Church only when the Church is out in the world.

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