HOLY HOUSE, HOLLOW HOUSE
“The church is nearby, the road is icy; the bar is far away but I will walk carefully.” — Russian Proverb
John 15 (esp.16-17)
Matthew 13:1-23 (esp. 18-23)
On either end of my block stand two church buildings, two small but elegant cathedrals. They have stood here for a long time, but now remain unvisited and empty.
Seeing a prime location and lovely architecture, a developer purchased them. He reworked the interiors and transformed cavernous, vacant sanctuaries into a lucrative investment. These once historic churches now provide sanctuary for the few people who call these luxury condos home.
When did God stop visiting these brick houses of his? When did he quit stopping by to visit his friends? Why did he leave? Or, why did the people leave? Did these churches lose their mojo?
Jesus said, “Remain in me, and I will remain in you.” (John 15:4) Did he lie?
We kept showing up. Someone, at least, continued going to his house. One might compare the disconnect to a broken marriage. Some couples can keep up appearances for the marriage, but have long since abandoned it. They lived together, wore the rings, paid the bills, and raised the kids. But they did not speak. They no longer confessed sin or sentiment. They left the house for the job or hobby. This proved far easier than admitting it was over and moving out, letting go. They play an adult version of house, but they fail to engage in real life.
Back to God again: Did he lie? If we had kept showing up and doing what people of faith do — praying liturgy, singing the songs, giving money, taking communion -– would he renege?
Or did we leave the relationship without moving out of the house? Maybe we packed up our heart and commitment. We thought that if we just stopped by now and then, we could ignore the fact that we had quit reaching out to hold his hand. We had quit asking for his help. We had quit thinking so highly of him. And we could maintain the appearance.
But we lost the promise. We broke the contract. And the love our God gave would go with him. He’d be a stranger.
He promised. We didn’t. As humans, composites of sinners and saints, we fear the promise. We struggle to fulfill those we make, despite our desires. So we leave. We just don’t move out. We live alone in beautiful luxury condos with no congregation, no friends to visit, no God to come by.
Have we left him and not moved out?
Does he inhabit our lives? How? Why?
Do we need to reconcile with Him? How?
© Revolworks 2006