We have been busy this summer and some things simply get overlooked. One of those was the weeding of the cross in front of the office. I drive by it and am embarrassed but I have been busy. Or so that is part of my excuse. My other was that it was someone else’s job to do it, not mine. Still another is that I don’t like weeding and why should I have to do things I don’t like to do. So the summer has come and soon it will be gone and this mess just didn’t change.
So today I decided to do something about it and it turned into a staff gardening party. Not a garden party which involves lemonade, fresh fruit, and baked beans. Debbie and I did a the weeding. Then I decided it was time to replace the weed block as it didn’t seem to be doing anything. If you do weed block then new beauty bark is required. After that was done then I noticed that the bushes behind the cross were looking shaggy, so that required some work. It took most the day, or several hours anyway. I am pretty proud of our completed project.
As I was working on it, particularly the first hour or so, I reflected on what I was seeing, A weedy cross. My mind journeyed from the literal to some spiritual thoughts. I would argue that the main feature of the church is the cross. True, we worship, we teach the Bible, we fellowship, we give tithes, that list could go on and on. Yet, it is the cross of Christ and its message of salvation this is why we are here. It is THE message we have to proclaim to the world.
Sin is a problem. No, sin is the problem. It is our personal sin which separates us from God and damages the relationships we have with others. There is no recovery from sin others than the cross and the message of the church. Sin is seen in the hate which is being broadcast on Facebook and other social media. The news is filled with it. Americans, and Afghans, and Iraqis, and Israelis and Palestinians are dying. Americans are hating other Americans because of color, the languages they haven’t mastered (that being English), political views, and what they are willing to eat. People who just want a better life are viewed as illegals and should be run off as quickly as we can. Children are hungry, babies are aborted, husbands and wives are fighting and arguing and we are surrounded by greed.
The church has something to say to all those problems, to all the sin that exists in our land. The problem is, in part, that the message of the church has gotten weedy. Some of the same sins which plagues our country plagues our churches as well. We find greed and prejudice and all the others obscuring the cross. We have focused on the wrong message. I am all for social justice, but it cannot overshadow the cross. I want hunger to end, but it cannot overshadow the cross. We all have some weeding to do. We all have some bushes to trim. We all, American church, need to look to Jesus and trace his steps. We need to take up our cross and follow him.