We’ve been getting some work done to our home. The builder’s van has been parked outside each day for weeks now. Some days it doesn’t look like much is happening but this is not one of those days. The sun is shining and the lads have painted the new walls a dazzling white. The site has been cleared and stones laid in preparation for the new patio. Things are really starting to take shape!
I understand that the foundations, piping, wiring and carpentry that aren’t seen are vitally important but I admit I like when a thing looks well.
One criticism that is often made of people and enterprises is that they are all image and little substance. Or worse, a respectable veneer is shown to be covering a corrupt motive or practice.
The ideal I guess we should be looking to attain is consistency, that we’re good all the way through, inside and out.
We’ve been reading these Sundays about the first Christians in Jerusalem shortly after Jesus’ death and resurrection. They were experiencing something of a life transformation. Encountering Jesus, directly or through the Spirit-empowered witness of His Apostles, prompted them to turn from selfish or dishonourable choices to sincerely revere God and follow the teaching of the Christ.
And while it was essentially an invisible change in their hearts it couldn’t help but show in how they lived and related to others. It wasn’t just that they made their top priority prayer and Scripture and spoke a lot about their Master. They sat loose to money and possessions, cared generously for people considered untouchable, even forgave enemies.
While they were misunderstood and on occasions threatened, slandered, persecuted, there was something compelling, something undeniably attractive about this new faith community.
And here’s the thing. It’s not just ancient history, it’s current reality, if we’re up for it. Same Jesus, same Spirit, same communion of ‘saints’, called to be holy and to practise love in Jesus’ name.
So while I hope our house will turn out both sound and inviting, I pray my life inside and out will be likewise through the constant influence of my Lord.
‘Now may the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, the love of God and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with (us) all. Amen’ (2 Corinthians 13 v 14)