I think it’s amazing—no, more than amazing, fun—how God puts things together. Sometimes, He does this “Elijah and the prophets of Baal” style, so that there’s no doubt what you just saw. But other times, He does things quietly, in that Luke 2:7 kind of way, where you go, “Wait. Didn’t the hopes and fears of all the years just get met and that’s how you’re going to tell it?”
Quietly making connections is how our Lord seems to prefer to work most of the time. Theologically, we call that “working through the means of grace” and we categorize those means of grace—because that’s what humans do. Take the Church Year for example. It doesn’t follow the calendar on your wall or in your phone. The Church Year points to Jesus, so it doesn’t follow human conventions or expectations. Our calendar is determined to begin January 1 and to stubbornly end on December 31.
Our worship space at Bethlehem is another of those places where our Lord works quietly, connecting ordinary things together to point us to Jesus.
Not so, the Church Year as it sort of runs the beginnings and the endings into one another. The Church Year “ends” on Christ the King Sunday and “begins” the First Sunday in Advent. But, Christ the King Sunday can rehearse the entire life of Jesus, connecting Christmas to Epiphany to Transfiguration to Good Friday and Easter to His Ascension. So, the “beginning” and the “end” kind of run into each other. Even the long season of Pentecost (the season formerly known as Trinity), has moments when the Scripture readings suddenly jump up and remind us of Easter or Christmas or Good Friday, so Jesus is everywhere and every “when,” meeting us in the moments.
Our worship space at Bethlehem is another of those places where our Lord works quietly, connecting ordinary things together to point us to Jesus. We’ve already talked about the way some of the stones in the wall behind the altar can be seen to resemble a hand, holding everything together underneath the cross. Some folks in the 8:30 morning service have noticed in Spring and Summer how the rising sun shines through the middle window (cross surrounded by the fish) and lights up the chancel area—what we do, outlined by who Christ is and what He’s done. (Remember that the fish symbol points to Jesus because the letters in the Greek word for “fish” form an anagram for Jesus Christ, God’s Son, Savior.) I really like this next one
If you stand in the entrance to the nave (the worship space) and look straight in at the processional cross, the red light of the EXIT sign right above you illuminates the center of the cross with red light. This is especially impressive when the sanctuary is dark. As you walk closer to the altar, the light is focused into the center of the cross, reminding you that we have access to God through the cross of Jesus and His sacrifice for us. Often, I park in the north parking lot and exit through the doors past the organ/worship team area. I get to be reminded of John 1:14 every winter evening: “The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has not overcome it.” He meets me in the moment of darkness with the light of Jesus.
Think about those times when He’s done that for you—met you in those moments of darkness and pointed you to His love, His help, His hope in Jesus. More than think about them, celebrate those moments and give thanks for them.
Joy in the journey,
Pastor Jeff Shearier