Flip This House (Heart)…
We’ve all seen the amazing facelifts that can happen with a quick house flip. We love a fresh coat of paint, new flooring, and some updated fixtures. But the danger with some flips, is that although appealing to the eager buyers’ eyes, it could be a disaster in disguise.
How much value is there to new bath fixtures if the plumbing is leaking inside every wall? That fresh coat of paint won’t protect you from the rotting wood and growing mold. And the modern laminate floors are great, but they won’t hold up a crumbling and sinking foundation.
The point. This Sunday we saw how believing in the holy catholic Church means we believe the church is a family. A household. We sang about it, “there’s joy in the house of the lord today.” In Wesley’s One Volume Commentary you’ll find a thought-provoking perspective on Jesus’ words in John 14 that I think speak to this idea of being the “house of the Lord”.
“My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you?” (v2)
The word “room” in this passage is the same word that Jesus uses as “home” later in verse 23 when He says that He and the Father will make their “home” with us. This would then indicate that what is being prepared is not solely an eternity in a faraway place but is speaking to the real presence of God (Father, Son, Spirit) with His children here on Earth. Jesus does this work of “preparing a place” on the cross, which then opens the door for all to experience being united with Christ in the presence of God both now, and forever. But that work of Jesus in our lives continues. The “preparation” is ongoing in our both our individual hearts and in our collective “body”, the Church.
Jesus gave Himself, came back, and lives again in us through the power of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit in our lives means that God is always with us. All day every day. And the intent is to be holy. But, as we all know, we are all a work in progress. So, what if we looked at this idea of Jesus preparing a place, a house with many rooms, as the internal work of the Spirit. Growing our faith and cultivating the soil of our souls, so that we can have a fruitful life that is reconnecting with our Holy God. The church then becomes the house, and each of our lives are the many rooms being restored into holy ground.
I think that a lot of this work that the Holy Spirit is trying to do in our lives and churches could very well be seen as what is now known as a trigger word… “deconstruction.” I think most of the fear comes from a false connection to the word “destruction”. Let’s think of our faith and the church as a house again. If there is something broken in the house, you don’t fix it with a wrecking ball. But you also can’t just paint the problems away either. Neither destruction or aesthetic renovations make a house safe and sound if the foundations and structures are broken.
Deconstruction is, and has always been, a healthy part of establishing and maintaining the Church. The key is avoiding the temptation to try to quick cover up any questions or convictions or become so bitter and detached that we give up and let it crumble. Throughout the Church’s history, it has gone through many different deconstruction periods. I think it is obvious that we are finding ourselves in one of those periods once again.
If we truly desire to be connected as one faith community, the Body, growing in our awareness and relationship with God, we must continue to do the necessary maintenance on our individual and collective faith. If we look at the fruits of our faith and practices, sometimes it reveals the need de(rec)construct. It is then when we must hold onto the truth found in our text from Sunday in Ephesians. We are members of His household with Jesus Christ as the “Cornerstone.” Jesus must always be the ultimate foundation of the Church. Jesus is the blueprint for who we are and what we do. When something in our lives or the structures of our churches no longer looks like Jesus… it might be time to roll up our sleeves, open the Gospels, and get to work.