WORDS FROM W.W. October 22, 2009
“Satanic Church Signs
Last week I was going to change what was on our church marquee. As I strolled to the far side of the sign I discovered that someone had taken blue paint and put the name “Satan” on that side of the marquee. After the scrub brush and Ajax did their job I thought a lot about the contrasts of the situation:
• Satan on the church sign.
• Satan being noticed more than anything else on the church sign.
• Some people feeling un-intimidated to boldly paint Satanic graffiti on the church.
• Darkness invading light (In fact, our marquee is lit up!)
• Proclaiming hope is under-valued by some of the people that need it the most.
One word, one name, caused me to do a lot of thinking. My office administrator would tell you that it put me off-stride for the rest of the day.
It used to be that a church was considered sacred space. Whether someone ever darkened the doors of any church they still viewed church property as a place that was not to be disturbed. That day has gone bye-bye like a flock of geese flying south for a long winter.
“Sacred” isn’t what it used to be…even though it is!
More than the name of the Deceiver on our sign is the disturbing thoughts I’ve experienced about the impact of the church on the community. One of the foundational beliefs that I hold about the church is that it is called to make a difference…outside the walls…in the world…in the community…in the lives of people that the Body of Christ comes into contact with. For example, there is an elderly couple that live a block from our church building. Neither of them has ever been inside our building, but when the husband had a stroke the wife called our church and asked if I could visit him in the hospital. Since then we’ve had people from our church visit them at their home, take cookies to them, pray with them. This week I took communion to them. Our students are going to go rake the leaves in their yard this Sunday. That’s a picture for me of what the church is to be- a reflection of Christ to our, and in our, community.
When the name of Satan starts being cast on top of the reflection of Christ it causes me to ponder whether we have reached a point in the battle where being inside the fortress is a solution that will lead to a wider expansion of irrelevance. The church must be about preparation and advancing.
It is much easier to teach people what they are to do AT church, how to act, when to stand and when to sit, where to turn in our bibles when it’s Christmas time, and what an adequate donation would be for a Sunday morning donut and a cup of coffee. Our discipleship, our spiritual formation, must shift somewhat to include “who we are to be out there”, who we are to simply be…no matter where we are!
In that shift there will be an accompanying shift in how “the light of the world” will be perceived and function.
“…that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth, and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
I see a lot of followers of Jesus and Jesus-people churches looking and acting defeated. It’s as if Satan has spray-painted the whole church and there is a weariness about whether going on is even an option. If we believe what scripture teaches, however, we’ll throw those thoughts back to where they came from. In other words, spray paint some hope on the dominion of darkness. What a picture…to see the Deceiver having to use his Ajax for a change!

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One Comment on “”

  1. Heather Says:

    Hey there WW,

    So good to hear your thoughts up north here. I have always enjoyed your sermons and your blog is something I always take the time to read. Brings home a little closer and gives some good food for thought as well as helps to keep my own walk in check.

    Very much enjoyed hearing how involved HP has become in the surrounding community. That is so great.

    Wendell is reaching out to the community today by trying to get a moose this morning. It is interesting. God has provided meat for us the entire time we have lived here. Our freezer is still full of meat, so if Wendell gets a moose, it allows us to share the meat with others who might need it. God is good and works in some really neat ways.

    Take care and tell Keisha hello and hope she heals up quickly. Hello to Carol also!

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