Invited Inside and Outside

October 25, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

We drove to the edge of Eureka Springs, Arkansas to see this church. It sits in the woods at the end of a narrow, winding road. It is a remarkable building. From outside, it is tall, but narrow; squeezed in among the trees. I had seen photos of this award-winning building for years. Night photos are especially fantastic. We might as well go inside.

Photographs are permissible inside the building as long as the photographer is seated. The building seems constructed of glass and matchsticks. The vertical timbers, little more than 2x4 inch boards, seem much too small to be of any significant support for the building. I thought this a fascinating sanctuary where the outside environment would be distracting to the congregation. Sermons are rarely remembered anyway. The stories last a little while and the jokes are told for a week or more. What can a preacher say that will compete with what's outside?

The Gospel passage for today, Matthew 22:34-46, is the concluding series of questions put to Jesus by the religious authorities. "What is the greatest commandment in the law?" (At the time, there were 613). Jesus responds "Love God with all your heart, soul, and mind. And love your neighbor as yourself." The answer is both simple and profound at the same time. There is nothing here about proper doctrines, or extensive theologies, or ethical debates. The sermon is brief. Invited in to love God and invited outside to love all. There are no walls when it comes to God, and no inside and no outside.


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