06 July 2010
Today's Reading: Hosea 6-9; Hebrews 3
1 So, my dear Christian friends, companions in following this call to the heights, take a good hard look at Jesus. He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe, 2 faithful in everything God gave him to do. Moses was also faithful, 3 but Jesus gets far more honor. A builder is more valuable than a building any day. 4 Every house has a builder, but the Builder behind them all is God. (Hebrews 3:1-4 MSG)
This morning when I read these verses about a builder being more valuable than a building, I thought about two things:
I thought first of St Paul’s Cathedral in London, probably my favorite cathedral in the whole world, built in the 17th century by Sir Christopher Wren. St Paul’s is a national treasure, has long outlived the builder, and yet could not exist without his gift, skill, and determination. Which is of greater importance, the building, unlike any other in the world, or the man who conceived and created it nearly 400 years ago?
The other thing I thought of is the West End musical, “Billy Elliot.” Jean and I saw the show during our most recent visit to London for the student graduation at East London Bible Training Center, the first school we started in London. “Billy Elliot” is the story of a young boy from a rough working class mining family who wants to be a dancer. The story takes place in the 1980’s in the coal mining region of northern England. It’s the early Thatcher days. Mines are being closed and thousands of miners are out of work. Villages are emptying and communities are being destroyed. The political issue that underlies the “Billy Elliot” story is whether the production is more important than the people, the economics more important than the community.
God says a builder is more valuable than a building any day. In God’s eyes, the people are more valuable than the organization, the person more valuable than the work he or she does, the relationships more valuable than the roles, the heart more important than the details, the process more important than the outcome.
Father, Help me to remember that the church is the souls Jesus died to save brought together in community through the life and sacrifice of Jesus and the work of your Spirit. Let me never forget that the work of your Kingdom is not merely about buildings and the organizations that operate in them, but about the redemptive work of grace in the lives of individuals living and growing and serving in community. Everything else is scaffolding. Amen.