An "Illuminating" Reminder

Monday, January 29, 2018

As I was sitting in church yesterday, I glanced up at the banners on the wall to the north of the altar, and I noticed something I had never noticed before. The ceiling light cast a glow on the center of the middle banner, illuminating Jesus and His halo. You can’t see it in this photo, which I took in 2008, and I wasn’t going to turn on my phone and take a picture in the middle of the service yesterday, so you’ll have to take my word for it. But it made an impression on me.

After the service, I joined a number of other members in the lunchroom for a “Town Hall Meeting” about the congregation’s plans for the future. St. Paul’s is a vibrant church with strong Christian leadership and an active membership, and it was a lively but respectful discussion.

Like everyone else, I got caught up in the discussion of air conditioning and building maintenance and finances and governance. But several people brought us back on track by speaking about the need to let faith guide our decisions.

In this fallen world even the most faithful Christians are sinners, which means that no earthly church is perfect and no congregation gets it right all the time. But God works through us and lets us make the decisions. He has given us the Bible to guide those decisions, but it isn’t His practice to send any other voice from Heaven to tell us how He wants us to use the resources (time, talent, and treasure) that He has given us. So disagreements are only natural, and sometimes congregations choose the second-best course. That doesn’t mean the choice is wrong or that the people who voted against it are losers. When the congregation speaks and the dissenters graciously accept the decision, we all win.

But as the illuminated banner reminds us, we make our best decisions when we “fix our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of our faith.”  (From Hebrews 12:2, NIV.)

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