Friday, July 28, 2017

Please Play on the Lawn

If it's true that those who seek understand, and if we're all just trying to figure all this out, then why are we not doing a better job of figuring it out together?

There has always been an "in-crowd" among God's people, for whatever reason. First, it was the Levites and the priests, who thought they were somehow special because of their place in God's community. Then, there were the Pharisees, and we all know how that turned out. But even after the institution of the Church, as the disciples and apostles traveled throughout the region spreading the Good News of the Christ who came to, among other things, tear down the walls of the in-crowd and let all peoples flood into His courtyard, we still see that there's something taking shape, even as early as Acts 5.

"The believers had a common faith in Jesus as they met on Solomon's Porch. None of the other people dared to join them, although everyone spoke highly of them." (v. 12)

Excuse me? The message of redemption for all, the testimony of those who had walked with a Man who showed no favoritism, the very beginnings of a radical new faith are taking shape, and they've already set themselves up at a distance from others? The new Christians have staked out Solomon's Porch, and no one dares to join them there?

That ought to make us weep. It ought to make us weep, but it probably doesn't because honestly, most of us are still doing the same thing.

We're acting like this God thing is something special, and it is, but we're acting more like it makes us something special. We're acting like it's something just for us, like you'd have to be one of us to understand it. We act like the gatekeepers of the Kingdom, making sure that anyone who might dare approach the throne of God know that we are the ones who have it all figured out. 

We want the world to look at us and think highly of us, like we're doing something favored that the rest of the world can't do. And the early church had it. They met on Solomon's Porch and everyone thought highly of them, but no one dared try to come to the porch to chat. No one dared try to sit in on their meetings. No one dared pretend that Christianity was an open door. Note that this verse says absolutely nothing about what's happening in Solomon's Foyer.

Heavens, no! For we are the keepers of the door, so we dwell and we dialogue on the porch.

Forget that our Savior Himself tore open the curtain of the Temple. Forget that He broke open the graves. Forget that He shook the very foundations of the earth so that all of the holy things that had so long been done in secret would be done now in the open, not just for all to see, but for all to be a part of. Forget all that. For we are the keepers of the door.

And we shall die on this porch.

I don't know what it is. I don't know why God's people have done this throughout their history; I don't know why we continue to do it. Jesus came and went to the outsiders, and as soon as He's gone, those who "had a common faith"in Him - those who wholeheartedly believed - started curmudgeoning. Get off my lawn.

It's almost like Jesus didn't just tell them a story of amazing Grace through the witness of the woman, the leper, the blind, the arrogant, the afflicted, the lame, the Samaritan....

I gotta tell you - I just don't get grace without these witnesses. I don't understand without their testimony. Everything I know about God, I know through the broken, through the beaten, through the belittled. Everything I know, I learned from someone who would probably never dare to join me on Solomon's Porch. 

Unless, of course, I invite them. 

Please, please, please - for the sake of us who love God, who have a common faith in Jesus, who ache for the kind of love and grace and forgiveness and hope that He lived for - please play on the lawn. Trample the grass. Catch frisbees. Chase fireflies. I'll come play with you. And if we get a little tired, that's okay. Come on up to the porch, and we'll pour ourselves a couple of glasses of Living Water. 

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