Friday, January 6, 2012

An Epiphany and a Sign of the Times

Maybe it's a sign of the times. Churches have all kinds of signs, many they don't recognize as such. Often the ones most in need of repair and renewal aren't the ones with paint, lights and materials.

They are the ones with legs and a voice. Or none.

Pastor Rob Bell founded a church in Grand Rapids, Michigan. It's called Mars Hill Church.

Same name except no relation to the multiple campi in Washington and now in Portland. No relation except that both proclaim Christ.
Albeit quite a bit differently at times. Yeah, quite differently.

Funny thing about the church in MI. It never had a sign. Skeptics of Jesus asked for signs to know who he was.
Jesus appeared on earth with no man-made signs. Signs in the heavens, for sure; but they became very sparse right away. But the most ubiquitous and out-of-his-control signs Jesus depended on were the simple signs on a few people's lips:
"Come and see."

Rob Bell's church never had a sign out front. When people asked why not, he always replied, "You found it, didn't you?"

? !

In announcing his decision to leave so that his church could trust its beginnings and its identity by trusting God, Bell answers quite succinctly for all time what the church is. Who the church is. How to find it.

It's in a very short paragraph on page 8 of his letter to Mars Hill.
It's his anwer to that nagging question about why the church has no sign. His more direct answer here begs that we pay attention to it.

Has the church ever needed any other kind of sign?
I don't think so. But read Bell's little essay and see what you think.
Could be a sign of the times.
Could be an Epiphany, our celebration of God's appearing on earth.
In US, for God's sake!
Yes, in us. For God's sake.

Pastor Roger

1 comment:

Janet Amundson-Splidsboel said...

I read every word of the essay and I thank you for sharing it. Deep yet simple wisdom. I've prayed that I can remember, or better yet that the wisdom becomes part of me so I don't have to try and remember.