The Twin Cities Rainbow Chaser

moving across the country…to discover what God has in store

My Own Sardis

on February 20, 2012
Mont-St-Michel

The pastor at my church has been going through the churches of Revelations (see chapters 2-3…actually, you should check out chapter 1, too).  It has been fascinating to consider how the messages that appear to be designed for the people of Ephesus or Pergamum apply to our lives.  Yesterday, we were on The Church of Sardis, which my pastor described as “The Dead Church”.  According to him, this is the saddest of seven epistles.

Consider, for a moment, that you meet Jesus.  Somehow, through some immense moment, He is there.  He looks at you and says, “You are dead.”

Cut to the heart.  That is what this church must have felt.  They had fallen so far away from the passionate love that comes from living and breathing in the Spirit…to be called “dead”.  I loved the metaphor, used by my pastor, of Spirit as water.  The Spirit does for the soul what water does for the body (yeah, I’ve heard that before…but it clicked this time).  We have the choice to drink in that Spirit…or, we can just suck up coffee, soda, and kool-aid.

Basilique du Sacré-Coeur

The sermon was deep and powerful.  As it came to a close though, he said that we cannot blame a dead church for our lack of growth; instead, we can choose to “wake up” (Revelation 3:2).  This statement started my wheels turning.  Although I haven’t dwelt on this much, I realize that at the end of May, I will have to return to my hometown; in turn, I will have to return to the church where I grow.  A church that I now characterize as “dead”.

Don’t get me wrong, it was a beautiful place to grow up.  There were so many loving, helping, guiding hands around me.  But there came a point where I was doing more leading than other church members.  I was a leader in the youth group and my spiritual growth no longer seemed so great a concern.  The focus was on bringing more people in and discipling them.  When I graduated, I didn’t know how to be discipled.  All I knew how to do was lead small groups and participate in everything possible.

University chapel

But, then I came to college.  I found a church that enveloped me with love; I found a family that didn’t ask for every ounce of strength.  Instead, they gave…they inspired…they lifted.  Whenever I go home and attend that old church, my heart breaks.  I know that there is something different from dried out hymns and over-wrought sermons.  I know that there are people who give hugs to homeless people and smile at noisy babies.

I know there is something different…something with life…but, what will I do when I go back for an entire summer?  As I started thinking about this yesterday, I thought that maybe I should just find a different church.  It’s just for a summer…but if it’s just for a summer, why don’t I just throw myself into that old church and try to bring some life into the old dried out leaves? (John 15:1-17)

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