Listen to this devotional:
Listen while you read: "Brighten The Corner Where You Are"1 (Lyrics)
[Editor's note: Not all of our readers get to read The Presbyterian Record, so I couldn't resist adapting this part of an article that appeared in the May 2015 issue, with the permission of the publisher and the author.]
2 Corinthians 5:20-21 – Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him. (NKJV)
Years ago, I preached regularly at a little church north of Toronto, Ontario, around Canada's Wonderland. At the time, farmers' fields that once surrounded the theme park were being transformed into cookie-cutter subdivisions. From Highway 400, motorists glimpsed large advertisements of this future community. The signs, complete with architects' drawings of families playing on quiet cul-de-sacs, were a stark contrast to the muddy fields beside the highway betraying how much work still had to take place in order to bring this future to life. The only other hint of the new life to come was found in the corner of the development — a model home. On my way to a church meeting one day, I pulled off the highway and went inside that show home. Taking my muddy boots off at the door, I entered a totally different reality than the fallow fields outside the temporary sales home. A company representative warmly greeted me and offered a short tour, complete with sparkling stainless steel appliances and an invitation to sit by the gas fireplace in a spacious living room. As I sank into a ridiculously plush leather couch, my eye was drawn to a nearby window and the muddy, uncultivated field beyond. As if reading my mind, the sales representative said, "It's a little hard to picture how all of this will one day be different, but hopefully, this glimpse is enough to tease your imagination."
That line was still ringing in my head a few minutes later when I pulled into the gravel church parking lot. I wondered whether our congregations might just be show homes of God's future development plans that we call the kingdom of God. Could it be that when people enter our churches, they catch just a glimpse of what God in Christ is doing to redeem the world? What if the way we treated each other as sisters and brothers in Christ were so different than the world outside that people were curious enough to want to find out more about who Jesus is for us … for them? If our show homes were patterned appropriately to give even just a glimpse of God's plan for this world and mirrored just enough of the self-giving, mutual, selfless love that we know in the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, how might that change a sin-sick and cynical world?
Prayer: God our Father, we bless You for all the ways in which we come to know Your love and witness Your glory at work in the world. We praise You that, along with the power of the Holy Spirit and the presence of the risen Christ, You are building the kingdom all around us. May we partner with You in the redeeming and reconciling work of the gospel, that our common life together as worshipping communities will give a glimpse of the consummation to come. Amen.