By now, the video of mourners has captivated the eyes of many. As they stood around the Notre Dame Cathedral, their voices united singing Ave Maria and the world mourned as flames engulfed the historical monument. There are critical moments in history recorded in the annals of scholars and culture – April 15, 2019, will be one of those moments.
As I watched the video of those singing, I could not help but wonder if the cathedral was an active part of their lives. Yes, the words they were singing contain a prayer of the Catholic Church. Yes, they passed the cathedral daily. It was a sight, though majestic and powerful, they probably took for granted until the light of flames drew their attention to gaze upon it.
From the events in France, my mind moved to our church as I sat in my office. This year marks 140 years of ministry for Oak Ridge Baptist Church. Many have seen the church as a staple in the community, and for most of the residents, it is a consistent landmark they expect to see daily. There would be many that would mourn if the church building was lost – but why?
Active vs. Passive
The Notre Dame Cathedral is no doubt a passive object in the lives of most people. They pass it every day, but there is no essential role the building or the Catholic Church has in their lives. However, there are those for whom the church played an active role; it was a part of their current spiritual lives.
The church you attend would have the same two groups of people come together if something tragic were to occur. There are people in your community that see the church building but have nothing to do with it. Even though they may have precious memories of days gone by, the church building is only a monument to the endeared past – it has a passive role in their lives. They are more attached to the building than they are to the church that meets within its walls. Their regular absence in worship services is a testimony of the church’s passivity in their lives.
However, there are those that would mourn differently. Yes, the building would be gone, and with it, a saddened heart from all the memories that took place would arise. On the other hand, there is also the realization that the build is not the church and the absence of a building does not limit worship or the spiritual health of the members.
Of these two groups of people, which one resonates with you? Has church become a passive part of your life, or does it hold an active role in your life?
What role does the church – not the building, but the people – have in your life? God redeemed the church to be an active part of a believer’s life. Are you reminiscent of things that happened at the church or are you actively celebrating the movement of God in the church?
Why would you mourn if the church building burned? I pray you will choose to be active in the church.