I had to have wasted a good hour.
It was my first experience—at least that I recall—with a powerful sunbeam. I pondered the impact that this ray of light had upon our home. Its brightness exposed all of these little creatures. They looked like sea monkeys. Or floating pieces of dirt. They would soon take on a life of their own.
I experimented with these dust fragments for all of five minutes. Then I did what all little boys do when confronted with invaders; I busted out my sweet ninja moves. I employed karate chop after karate chop to destroy these little minions bombarding our kitchen floor.
Quite shamefully really. It didn’t matter how much effort I put forth, I never could conquer these dust particles. As soon as I roundhouse kicked one in the face a million others came through the open window, dive-bombing down a sun-beam and gleefully sabotaging our kitchen floor.
After an embarrassingly long time I discovered the solution. Somehow the sun was giving these little goobers their energy. I quickly learned that if I could block the sun it would kill these dust particles. I shut the curtain.
Game Over. No more tiny creatures taunting me with their invincibility.
As I reminisce about my youthful ignorance I cannot help but think about the church. It seems as if we spend a good amount of our energies trying to clean up these dust particles; namely, all the brokenness around us. That’s good and well. We ought to be engaged in bringing the transformation of Jesus into the lives of every sphere of brokenness and rebellion.
But, let’s be honest. Little boys trying to annihilate dust particles with karate chops is impossible. Then again, so is it impossible for the church to ultimately conquer her sin this side of glory. Is it possible that in our discouragement with attempting the impossible that we have succumbed to the quick fix of shutting the curtain?
Have we convinced ourselves that we have gotten rid of sin for the most part but all we have really done is close the curtain? And by “close the curtain” I mean that we’ve somehow shut out the penetrating and heart-searching work of Jesus.
Maybe safe and sanitized does not equal a church that has been rocked by Jesus. It might mean that in her apathy the church has simply closed the curtain. The ugliness is still there but it’s largely hidden. She’s comfortably sanitized herself from outward brokenness but for some reason Jesus seems gone too.
The mark of a church that is being rocked by Jesus is one that has the curtain wide open. For that reason it is probably going to look more sinful and more jacked up. The light of the gospel exposes what is hidden—even those little dust particles that we’d like to pretend aren’t there.
A biblical church doesn’t celebrate the exposure of sin. A biblical church rejoices at the heart-penetrating work of Jesus but then she gets busy karate chopping the dickens out of the sin that is exposed. Of course by “karate chopping the dickens” I mean nothing more than applying the gospel and all it’s power and benefits to the sin that has been exposed.
Let’s open up that curtain and get to choppin’