“….What makes the gospel offensive isn’t who it keeps out, but who it lets in.”
Week three of my re-read of Searching For Sunday with my lifegroup and this quote from the sixth chapter has sucker punched me just as hard as it did the first time I read it last summer. There’s a note scrawled next to it in the margin. Tiny and cramped because I barely had room it reads “boom! Jesus don’t ever let me forget this.” I hardly had time to recover from that bomb of truth when Rachel hit me again with this quote.
“We religious types are really good at building walls and retreating to temples. We’re good at making mountains out of our ideologies, and obstructions out of our theologies”
And I started thinking. About the inevitable decay of the outsider. How in subtle ways without even noticing, the ones who broke out of the walls that hemmed them in, slowly began building their own walls to keep others out. I do it just as easily as anyone else. I have a litmus test in my brain of what a “true Christian” should look like as if I could ever be the one to make that list much less keep to it myself.
I become confident that I know how God moves and works and the way that person says he’s moving? Well she’s wrong. That’s not how God works. That’s not what God wants. Sometimes I live my life as if when I stand before the throne of heaven God is going to hold me accountable for the choices others made in their lives instead of the choices I’ve made in my own. The church should be a refuge. But often it becomes a place people feel they need refuge from. How do I change that? How do I break down my walls?
The catapult that is Jesus’ death and resurrection launches the cannonball of grace that crushes the walls we’ve built. When we remember the way grace steamrolled into our lives and changed us from the inside out, we have less patience for walls. Instead of walls we build relationships. We knit ourselves back together. We remember the church isn’t a building. It’s people. Messed up, crazy, beautiful, amazing people all trying to live in the scandal that is the grace of God.
Let’s be gracious to each other. Let’s try to be a reflection of the grace that was so benevolently bestowed on us in our most undeserving moments. Maybe then the church can truly be a refuge for all. Don’t let me forget this Jesus. Let me walk in grace every moment of every day. Not just receiving it, but giving it. I don’t want to live in a walled city. I want to open the door, where the voice in the wilderness is crying out. Listen closely. Can you hear what he’s saying?
“Clear the way! For the Lord is coming!”