Message from the Scriptures
“The throne of God and of the Lamb will be in the city, and his servants shall worship Him. They will see His face and His name will be written on their foreheads.”
Revelation 22.3 & 4
We have been measured! Those words were written at the beginning of a church newsletter in England where the church is redesigning it’s building. I was encouraged this week to look at the newsletter article and to take my time reading about their rebuild. Now you may be wondering why I would have been encouraged to do this. Well I had been up at our church halls to get some items from the back of the stage (there is so much stuff there I thought I’d never get out again!!) and I stood on the stage and looked out over the hall, the Sun, yes it came out this week, shone into the hall and I could see the tired building in front of me. It got me thinking about the journey we have been on with our plans to redevelop the building and the length of time made me weary. As I thought about coming out of lockdown and starting the process again, I sat down in the Sanctuary and asked God ‘where is this all leading to?’ Later that day as I shared my thoughts with a colleague of mine, they encouraged me to look at the Church website in England. Now you are probably thinking I am going to tell you a story about their journey to a great new building and ministry. Well that is what I thought I was going to find but it turned out the complete opposite. The Words ‘We have been measured’ were written in 2012 and they had just been through their first meeting with their Architect and the work had started on the new design of the building. In 2020 they are still looking to secure their first grant to upgrade their Sanctuary!
As I read through the articles on the site, I gathered a picture of their passion for the project but also their ups and downs on the way along. Two sentences jumped out at me and got me thinking, in fact it made me smile. And those sentences were, ‘Of course, they measured only the bricks and mortar. How would the drawing look if they’d attempted to measure” us? ‘
If we asked ourselves, ‘How would you want the drawing to look if we were measured up as others would see us?’ Would we like the Church to be painted as a picture bursting with life, colour, movement, and energy? Would it be a picture of circles, of unity and togetherness? A landscape of great awe, vast space, and gigantic mountains; Waterfalls and lakes So many possibilities!
Part of the difficulty in picturing how Church should be imagined if it is to reflect us is that we all have different ways of coming to God. To some, it’s really important we show that God is our closest friend, always present and ready to listen; for others, that God is gathering people together from all places, for still others, that God is a figure of great power, someone to be revered. We need each other so that we can see more of God! For in being His church we are seeing the fullest picture of God in each one of us.
Perhaps the most important question though, is, “What does God see when He looks at us?” Does he seek a vibrant, humbled, spirit led church family or a cosy, comfortable, stay as we are group of people. We cannot hide any of it, good or bad, we must look to the eyes of a loving Father who encourages us daily to be his church in the world.
God’s picture for the future of His church is something of a miracle: pure, clean rivers running through cities giving life to trees that bear the fruit of healing for all nations (Revelation 22:2). How does that sound to us? I desire to be sitting on the edge of that river! I would love our church to be like those trees. And yet I think we have been on that journey for a while now and praise God for his guidance.
You see as I read through the church in England’s newsletters I was encouraged by their activities: Bible Studies and Prayer meetings, outreach, Adult fellowship groups and Children’s ministry. Over the years they had continued to develop the witness for Christ whilst praying for their church building project. And they had not given up on any of their plans. When they got excited about being measured up, they did not forget to measure their service to God each year and that witness has grown. As I reflect upon our own situation, I realise that during this lockdown, our witness has grown. For a congregation of 34 we share 60 letters each week and make contact through social media with around 100 people. God is working in us and through us, praise his Holy name!!
Our question for all of us is, do we fit in with God’s plans to ‘measure up’ with the Kingdom work and witness? Do we take this opportunity in lockdown to pray for our church and its future as the body with Christ Jesus as its head? I pray that there is a measuring tape bursting at the seams with our names on it!