Building is admirable. Art and architecture lovers know this statement inherently. Music lovers appreciate its results. Writers agonize through its struggle. And church-goers? Perhaps they see best of all the necessity of building, of multiplication.
The issue is not with the building itself, but rather the focus in the process.
Because I'm in education, most of the last two years have been heavily focused on this concept of building. Growth, after all, is our major goal. Can't show growth? Then you probably don't belong in the classroom. At least, that's what every evaluative statement I've heard in the last year has indicated.
And so we build.
I don't think one person would begrudge us the building that's taken place in the last few years. By the grace of God, we've build a family and thrown a lot of time and energy into that family. We are in the lifelong process of relearning how to be the church and build a church. These are, like I said in the last post, admirable tasks. And had we not walked through another season of loss, I probably would've continued to swim through what I labeled a small feeling of dissatisfaction.
Through the season of Advent, I went through a real longing for Christ's presence. You're probably thinking, "Um...yeah. That's what the season is for?" But it wasn't a requisite longing. It was the deep sense of dissatisfaction--like I'd forgotten who He was or how to find Him.
I'd committed myself to being in the Word in 2016, and that commitment has taken an odd turn. What started as dedication to write scripture every day came to a head when I started a Lent devotional early. I've been thinking about that verse in Hebrews: "...just as the builder of a house has greater honor than the house itself." It's only a partial sentence, but I almost choked on my yogurt when I read it because in black and white, I found myself. I found my reverence to the building--the process and the structure--and I've given each far more reverence than the builder Himself.
A hundred pieces fell together with that meditation.
I felt a gentle reminder that what I pour into and what I allow to pour into me has a direct correlation with my life in Christ. Where am I looking? To what/whom am I giving honor?
Tearing into some of these things has been difficult--lonely, sometimes. But my Christ has been gracious to me. When my pastor reminded the congregation of Romans 2:4 this morning, I knew Christ was reminding me of his tenderness. It really is His kindness that leads us to repentance.