Sometime ago I saw online several photo’s of notice boards of two churches in America that were across the street from each other. The first read ‘Do Dogs go to Heaven?’ and the church across the street put a response on their notice board ‘only humans go to heaven read your Bible.’
This prompted a response from the first church ‘God loves all his creations, including Dogs’. So the second church put up on its notice board ‘Dogs don’t have souls, this is not open to debate.’ Well the debate of these two church’s theology continued for all to see through their notice boards.
A series of other church notice boards was shown with one reading ‘God does not believe in atheists, therefore atheists do not exist.’ Another one read ‘Read the Bible it will scare the hell out of you.’
I don’t know about you but these messages make me wonder so much about what is the image we portray about God through our buildings and surrounding area. Does it say anything about our beliefs, does it say God is a loving God or that God is vibrant or does it say that God is run down, old fashioned and no longer relevant? Whilst we know the truth of the answer to that question we only know because we are on the inside indeed we are Church.
Furthermore if someone came to our service on a Sunday morning what impression of God would they get? Asked another way if you were to invite someone to worship what would you say to them how would you ‘sell’ it? What would you say about why you come to church and would you mention God in your answer?
Lent is a time for reflection, a kind of self appraisal for self and church, to consider how we act, what things we say and what impression we give to those outside the church and indeed inside. Asked another way like Jesus did ‘Who do you say I am?’ And in asking the question are we self aware enough to be honest about the answer. I am presently reflecting that in a world that is searching for spirituality and meaning, why is the church not the first port of call for answers? [The church being the gathered people as well as you in the various communities you belong.]
Too many questions you may think, but Jesus was asked many questions and asked many questions and as my teachers used to say to me ‘Alan we know when you don’t understand because you will always ask’. Let’s make Lent through our House Groups and through our conversations a time of discovery.
Do you believe? Do you want to get well? Why are you so afraid?
Why did you doubt? Do you still not see or understand? Are you also going to leave?
What does scripture say? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to their life?
Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye?
Do you believe that I am able to do this?
To what can I compare this generation?
What do you think?
Do you love me?
Your friend and servant