Thursday, July 10, 2014

Upper Room

On Monday, I wrote about going to church on Sundays and being the church on Mondays. About how we're supposed to be walking this world doing what Jesus did - teaching, healing, affirming, loving. We all understand this, but it's harder than it sounds.

The problem, I think, for most of us is that our Sunday churches have become our Upper Rooms.

The Upper Room was originally the place where Jesus prepared Himself, and His disciples, for His final journey to the Cross. There, they shared the Passover feast and the Last Supper. There, they solidified what was about to happen, talking about the prophecy to be fulfilled. They reminded themselves what they'd been doing for the past three years, what their work meant, what their Teacher mean. They broke bread and shared stories.

Around noon the next day, darkness fell over the land until three. Jesus looked into the heavens and declared, "It is finished." The earth shook, graves broke open, the curtain in the Temple was torn in two...and the disciples high-tailed it back to the Upper Room.

They had gone there to hide. After all, their leader had just been killed; they had good reason to believe they would be next. They had gone there to think. It was a quiet place, a removed place, where they could have a few minutes to clear their heads. And they had gone there to remember. This was the last place they had shared together, a place where they had already told stories; they came to tell stories again.

Isn't that what we're doing at church?

Most of us are hiding at church, being Christians on Sunday mornings and trying to sort of downplay that the rest of the week. In a world where a bank teller can reportedly be fired for telling customers to "have a blessed day," why wouldn't we want to hide a little bit of our faith?

Most of us are in our churches to think. It's the only time each week where we have the opportunity, maybe, to think about something holy. To consider the state of our hearts. To go back to our faith and figure out what we believe and what it matters. To pray. In church, we can 'do' God things and it's perfectly okay.

Most of us are hearing, and sharing, stories at church. It's where we remember who God is and what He's doing here, the times we've had with Him, the moments we wish were still coming. And maybe they are. It's the time we talk about this journey we've been on with Him, and hear about the journey He's been on with us, and have a chance to remember the story we're telling.

Yes, on Sundays, most of us are in our Upper Rooms because, frankly, it seems safe there and we don't know what else to do with ourselves. We're waiting to see what happens. We're hoping Jesus comes back like He said He would.

He does. He came into the Upper Room, but only briefly. In His resurrected state, most of His time was spent outside of those walls. He appeared to hundreds of people over forty days, but in the Upper Room only once (that we know of) and what happened there?

Not a lot of anything. A confirmation of His identity and His presence, but not much else. It was outside of the Upper Room that He made more history, that He wrote more story, that He created new memories.

I imagine if you asked the disciples today what their favorite memory of the resurrected Christ is, they wouldn't tell you it was that time He came to the Upper Room to prove once again who He was. It was all the other times, when He was living life with them again, the same way He lives life with us.

It was probably the time He fried some fish on the seashore for a few of His weary fishermen. You know that Guy had to be one heck of a cook.

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