Monday, November 21, 2011

Pointing to the Obvious

I love sitting in buildings that have stupendous architecture. As I sat in our enormous church yesterday, I was daydreaming during the sections that were convicting me about my hopeless character. I knew the punchline- yes, my heart is wicked...I have certainly seen that demonstrated often enough to not need to argue the point. But I also know that the miracle of God is that Jesus has washed me clean. I have hope that despite being guilty of pretty much every despicable sin there can be, I have (or will ultimately) overcome, not because of who I am but because of who God is. It is a major reason for Thanksgiving, but for some reason, maybe the little sleep over the past few days, I was focusing on the church architecture with one ear open to the Pastor.

Nearly every architectural line of this church is designed to draw your eye upward. The windows all end in upward triangles, the church itself has spires that point to heaven, all the pipes of the pipe organ are capped by upward wooden triangles, the balconies all ascend higher and higher, and on the ceiling itself, the Cross is lit and laid discretely against the roof. It took me a long time of searching to find the Cross in that church. It was like a spiritual, "Where's Waldo?" It's obvious if you look in the right place.

This is what church should be, I thought, as I squirmed at the list of character traits that Displease God. Church should convict us of sin. Too many of us accept our rottenness or rationalize it away. But if the church left us in that state, we would all leave church and drive off a cliff. The next major role of a good church is to point our focus, our hope, our gratitude upward- to God. And at the pinnacle of everything the church preaches, should be the Cross. Without the Cross, the Christian message is impossible. The entire Bible points to the cross, even more perfectly than the architecture of the magnificent church I sat in. The meaning of the Cross is so obvious, the need for the Cross so compelling, yet so many people miss it. I did too, to my great regret, for thirty years. But now that I know what to look for, I can't believe I didn't see it at first.

Proverbs 8:17
17 I love those who love me,
   and those who seek me find me.

1 Corinthians 1: 17-18

17 For Christ did not send me to baptize, but to preach the gospel—not with wisdom and eloquence, lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.hrist Crucified Is God’s Power and Wisdom
 18 For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.

1 John 4: 9-10
9 This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him. 10 This is love: not that we loved God, but that he loved us and sent his Son as an atoning sacrifice for our sins.