Driving along a cold, forsaken road one dark night, my radio croaking out a mournful song, I saw a church. A church that had a lighted cross by the highway, and warm, welcoming lights on inside, as if it was open to strangers and a crackling fire was burning in the hearth.
“How strange!” I thought, “How very rare it is to see a lighted church at this time of day. I wonder if their doors are unlocked?”
“Hmm. That sight is like rest to my weary bones. If I ever started a church, I would have a parsonage, and leave the doors open and the lights on all day and night and people could come and go as they pleased, and always know that my church was a safe, private haven, always at their disposal.”
And then I thought, “Ha! Start a church? Never!
There never WILL be perfect church.
Even if I gathered the smartest, most on-fire people to start my church, they would end up fighting. Wait, I bet that’s why, in the old days, there was just one man spear-heading the church. The parson. And the only person he had to get along with, if he wasn’t musically inclined himself, was the organist. A strange lot, those parsons, but still….. I think they were on to something with this one-man deal.”
So I planned it all out in my mind.
IF I was a man, and
IF I became a parson in the mountains of darkest Peru,
and IF I had my very own parsonage, I would win the people’s hearts for Christ and have a perfect church.
I would work tirelessly (with the help of many cups of coffee, of course) to meet all of their needs. I would love unconditionally. I would study the Word with passion.
I would preach the Gospel tirelessly, and speak truth in the face of lies. (But if I was feeling insecure, I would be silent.)
I would spend my last penny to bring cheer to my discouraged parishioners. (But some days, I would squander my last dollar on a bag of gummy bears, and eat them all in one sitting.)
I would pray without ceasing. (But on days of total exhaustion, I would cut it short with the excuse, “I REALLY need my sleep.”)
The rickety little sign by the door would say, “Come just as you are!” But on a bad day, I would add “…but not if you have a dirty mouth, fart without shame, or act inappropriately towards the opposite gender”, because those are three of my pet peeves.
I would never judge a soul. (Unless it was someone who deeply hurt me.) I would fight for spiritual victories in my parishioners’ hearts. (Unless I was in a No-One-Is-Fighting-For-ME sort of mood, in which case I would block everyone out for awhile.)
I would do a lot of things, if I was a man, with a parsonage, in the darkest depths of deepest Peru.
But it would never be perfect.
Because I’m not.
Why do you stare at the tiny particle that is in your brother’s eye, but do not become aware of and consider the beam of timber that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, “Let me get the tiny particle out of your eye.”, when there is the beam in your own eye? First get the beam of timber out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the tiny particle out of your brother’s eye.
Keep on asking and it will be given you! Keep on seeking and you will find; keep on knocking and the door will be opened to you. For everyone who keeps on asking receives; and he who keeps on seeking finds; and to him who keeps on knocking, the door will be opened.
Those words are for me.
“Keep on asking, Kara. Change begins inside of you. One day, when all of my children finally arrive in heaven, all of these imperfect temples will transform to become My spotless bride.”