By Peter Lundell –
I visited two churches in downtown Los Angeles. And they both had dead Jesuses.
One was the first church ever erected here, when L.A. was just a pueblo built by settlers from Mexico. At the back of the sanctuary lay a statue of Jesus dead in the tomb. He was white as a ghost, with plastic rays spiking out from his head, safe under a Plexiglas cover. People stood and worshipped him. I was not inspired.
The other church was a beautiful Italian Renaissance structure with an imposing Greek colonnade smacked on the front. Trees obscured the statues above the columns. Everything on the edifice was written in Latin, and the only English was a small historical plaque the city had stuck on it. People passed by without a glance. The building and grounds were well maintained, but the doors were locked and lacked any kind of handle. I peeked through the crack between the doors to see white marble floors, walls and altar—empty. Cold and bare, uninviting and irrelevant.
One church has an actual dead Jesus with worshippers who pay their respects as they would at a funeral. The other has no Jesus or anyone at all—a dead and gone congregation along with whatever Jesus they once worshipped. By the looks of the church edifice, they considered Jesus rich and respectable—like themselves.
If you worship Jesus, what kind of Jesus do you worship?
Is He respectable? He who was a rabble-rousing misfit.
Is He meek and mild? He who took on demons and a temple full of merchants.
Is He sophisticated? He who was homeless.
Is He absent most of the time? He who left the throne of heaven to walk in our midst.
Or is He beyond categorization?
And alive. Alive like a fire burning.
PRAYER: Jesus, take me, my whole life. I am Yours and You are mine. Keep me from deadness in how I see You and worship You. Burn Your Holy Spirit’s fire in me. I will in turn share it with others who need a living Jesus.
“If anyone is thirsty, let him come to me, and let the one who believes in me drink. Just as the scripture says, ‘From within him will flow rivers of living water.’ (Now he said this about the Spirit, whom those who believed in him were going to receive, for the Spirit had not yet been given, because Jesus was not yet glorified)” (John 7:38–39, NET).
Today’s devotion is by Peter Lundell, author of Prayer Power. A rising new voice on connecting with God, he is a pastor, Bible college teacher and conference speaker. Visit him at www.PeterLundell.com for his inspirational “Connections” and free downloads of articles, parables, short stories and book chapters.