I'm not completely sure why (though I have my suspicions), but I am strangely drawn to this picture.
Perhaps it's because of its unique perspective, its unique design and architectural skill. But then again maybe not.

I think it has to do with the prophetic nature of the message. The truth of what awaits the church as a building, as a fortress. There it is. That's what awaits, -- or is already happening.

Most modern (read conservative, evangelical, guilt-ridden, rule bound, denominationally oriented, Bible-believin', Christians) live their faith in the paradoxical space between being too modest to speak for God except on social issues, and too reasonable to be truly dependent on God except in times of tragedy. The point that Jesus was trying to make in his short years on this planet was that the Kingdom of God is near. Which is a divine way of saying: the great, mysterious power of the universe wants to be in a loving relationship with each one of us. That's it. Not same-sex marriage, not Jihad, not drink, or tobacco, or pre-marital sex, not George W. or Kofi-Anan, or Tim from my coffee shop. What's so hard about the fact that God is desperately seeking Susan? or you, or me? God invites us with all of our human frailty and brokenness to reach out in trust.

But this will turn the church on its end.

I have met far too many followers of Jesus recently who are trying to get close to Jesus, but are being weighed down with guilt or baggage that the 'church' is forcing them to lug around. Jesus doesn't come to cramp our style...he wants us to love him. To LOVE him. To love HIM. He sets us free to really live!!! To dance and sing, and spin, and laugh and cry and wonder, and embrace, and talk, and drink coffee, and swim, and party, and explore, and eat, and sleep, and taste, and soar, and create, and drink beer, and cook, and hold hands, and dance, and dance and dance, and groove, and golf, and surf, and teach and listen, and paint, and .....get the picture?

This is what will turn the church on its end.

For some reason, we think we have to defend God and condemn homosexuals, or liberals or sex addicts, or ...well, anyone who doesn't 'get it' like 'we' do. I think we're going to be surprised who makes it in, and...who doesn't. Wasn't it the religious leaders that Jesus blisteringly condemned as all show and no substance? If 'religious leaders' spent as much time caring for the poor as they do condemning homosexuals, the world would be a much better place. If I spent as much time caring for the marginalized as I do getting angry with the lame driver ahead of me (ARGH), ....the world would be a better place.

This will turn the church on its end.

What does it mean to be created in the image of God? If we understood this, we'd understand our job description in this cosmos. We are created with a capacity to be in relationship with the creating, sustaining, loving, compassionate power of the universe. Oh my gosh this is so cool. Being created like this means that at the most profound level of existence we are not alone,....we are NOT alone....we have the potential to be in a relationship with God. And God loves it when we dance, and sing, and spin, and eat, and laugh, and enjoy all his good gifts. See, there is nothing (NOTHING) that we have done or could ever do that would make him love us less, nothing. There is nothing that we could ever do that would make him love us less,



This will stand the church on its end. This is the scandal of grace! He forgives!! Anything, everything you've ever done or will do....he's forgiven you for...think about that. He's forgiven you, you're clean, you're embraced, you're forgiven, and we love him for that. You don't have to explain yourself, no more beating yourself up (or allowing yourself to be beaten up).

Step out from the shadow of your hiding place. Let God embrace you. May your whole life become a response to the truth that you've always been loved, you are loved, and you always will be loved. And may you know, may you know deep in the depths of your soul, that there's nothing you could ever do to make him love you less.
Nothing you could ever do to make God love you less.
Nothing you could ever do to make him love you less.


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