Where do you go for refuge?
Superheroes tend to have a headquarters. Anywhere from Stark Tower and Aunt Mays house to the Fortress of Solitude and the Batcave. But, in real life, where do we go?
Some of us have our own little nooks and crannies. We have our space where we can just be who we want to be and do what we want to do. We hide in our room to get away from the world or just drive until we feel the freedom that we have been searching for. Sometimes we go to movies to be able to be free of the rest of the world for a couple hours. But, the world still sneaks up on us. The Colorado murder is still fresh in our minds. In all of these places, the world creeps in or comes back too soon. You see the bill lying on the floor of your room or you run out of gas, knowing you shouldn't have wasted any.
Rarely, if ever, do we think of going to church. There's people there and I just don't feel like praying. It's too much gas or it's not open. It's not even Sunday.
But, isn't that where we should go?
A church should feel the same way. Although we might have screwed up or continue to screw up, the church should recognize that everyone's in that boat. No one is perfect. And the church should be a place that is stronger than any fortress or Batcave because the hero is not alone, they have much-needed support.
But, the church closes, doesn't it? No. It might help to remember, the church is not a place. That means that it can never be closed, it can only be opened. As the saying goes, "We are the church." This knowing of acceptance and place to gather strength from other Christians and time to worship God cannot be imprisoned within a building. These things are way too powerful to be kept within brick walls. We are to be there for each other, for the church, all of the time. We can worship God and strengthen each other while watching a football game or playing poker, shopping or eating at a restaurant. It doesn't take much to thank God for what he's given you and acknowledge him in our lives. As long as we remember who we are and how we are to encourage one another with the Spirit, the church is a powerful thing that knows no bounds.
Sadly, the world creeps into the church too. It was less than a week ago that a white-supremesist killed people praying at a Sikh temple. Although these people may be lost, missing the mark and not knowing the true God. They were on the right path. They knew that there was someone to be worshiped and that they could go to this place to worship him. This terror makes us ponder whether or not we are safe also.
As we go about being the church, encouraging one another, sin attacks. We want to do things for one another and out of the goodness of our hearts, but we judge one another. And if we do not judge one another, we often (perhaps accidently) lead one another into temptation.
How can we have refuge from this?
We have to remember the point. We must know who Christ is and what he has done/continues to do for us. We know both the Father and the Spirit, the Holy Trinity. We cannot get distracted by the things that creep up on us, but remember to focus on God. When we take refuge in him, nothing can overtake us. Although we are weak, he is strong. When we give everything, our all, to him, we can know that he provides the shelter that we desperately need.
Even when we forget to give God our all and we forget to show our faith through our actions, God is still there for us as our refuge.
I encourage you,
The next time you need shelter, pray.
The next time you need encouragement, encourage others.