The old-time churches with tall steeples and a cross that pierces the sun, the beautiful stained glass that m light dances off of as the services progress, tall white pillars standing majestically against the red brick building. It is nostalgic for me. I will stop to take pictures of churches as I drive, just because I have a love for church architecture.
Tonight driving through town, I passed multiple churches. Lights off inside, outside lights advertising different ministries to mimic the business signs in the community. The stained glass reflecting the local pubs and business surrounding these once sacred institutions. The buildings fade into the scenery, almost undetectable from those secular things around it.
It is a reflection of how far we have come, or maybe how far we have strayed. Christ said “If I be lifted up, I will draw all men to me.” We are busy building buildings, but not lifting up Christ to the people who will fill them. God traveled in the wilderness for forty years with His presence contained in a tent, but we have built buildings over forty years and left His presence behind.
The stained glass once portrayed the love of Christ in beloved scenes from His word, now replaced by the stained glass masquerade of our lives. We walk around pretending to have things all together while we are a broken mess inside. No longer a beautiful masterpiece, just shattered glass pieced together again.
The white pillars stood tall in the community, as the elders of the church also did. There was an expectation that they would not only serve on Sundays and Wednesdays but that they would serve throughout the week. Regular visits to others in the congregation, living life together. They weren’t perfect, but they were involved. They stood out in the community just as the white pillars stood out against the brick. Now it is hard to know who leads as they stay in small packs, closed groups, closed lives.
We were called to stand in unity, instead we stand in division – the churches and denominations. We fight against those we are called to love. Christ sent us to the nations, but we have failed to share Him with our neighbors. We build majestic buildings, and leave behind empty souls. Where did the Church go?