Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Ah, I'm going to have to go ahead and ask you to come in on Sunday, too.

Previously, I addressed professing Christians who see church as optional. I offer the following for those who see church as unnecessary. (HT Mary Morrison)

A member of a church, who previously had been attending services regularly, stopped going. After a few weeks, the preacher decided to visit him.

It was a chilly evening. The preacher found the man at home alone, sitting before a blazing fire. Guessing the reason for his preacher's visit, the man welcomed him, led him to a comfortable chair near the fireplace and waited.

The preacher made himself at home but said nothing. In the grave silence, he contemplated the dance of the flames around the burning logs. After some minutes, the preacher took the fire tongs, carefully picked up a brightly burning ember and placed it to one side of the hearth all alone, then he sat back in his chair, still silent.

The host watched all this in quiet contemplation. As the one lone ember's flame flickered and diminished, there was a momentary glow and then its fire was no more. Soon it was cold and dead.

Not a word had been spoken since the initial greeting. The preacher glanced at his watch and realized it was time to leave. He slowly stood up, picked up the cold, dead ember and placed it back in the middle of the fire. Immediately it began to glow, once more with the light and warmth of the burning coals around it.

As the preacher reached the door to leave, his host said, with a tear running down his cheek, "Thank you so much for your visit, and especially for the fiery sermon. I shall be back in church next Sunday."
cf. "We Are God's People"
We are a temple, the Spirit's dwelling place,
formed in great weakness, a cup to hold God's grace.
We die alone, for on its own each ember loses fire;
yet joined in one the flame burns on to give warmth and light and to inspire.
(sung at Providence Church Sunday morning)

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