We celebrated God’s mercy and grace at Sunday worship, finishing with a celebration of the Lord’s Supper. Partaking of the elements of the table, bread and wine—or in our case, juice—is meaningful to me. As we shared those elements this week, I remembered again that we have a Hero: our Savior, Jesus Christ. We all—rich, poor, man, woman, old, young, famous, unknown—we are all equal at the foot of the cross.
At our regular meeting this week, our church board reported on our mission emphases at Ebenezer. I was humbled as they reported the congregation’s support of various organizations in the community. At a time when some groups are pulling back support, we are looking at our commitments to see what more we can do. I am proud to be pastor of such a caring group of individuals who are committed to and involved in making Greenfield and Dade County a better place to live.
Congratulations to the Dade County Library board on the completion of the new addition. Of course, as reported by Ann Blackwell, an elder at Ebenezer and secretary-treasurer of the library board, they are still shelving hundreds of items that were boxed up for the renovation. If you have some time, stop by to see if you can help out. The board has worked tirelessly to finish this project for the citizens of Dade County and deserve our thanks. Well done, friends!
A funny story received in my e-mail this week: A dog had followed his fourth-grade owner to his public elementary school. When the bell rang, the dog sidled inside the building and made it all the way to the child’s classroom before a teacher noticed and shooed him outside, closing the door behind him. The dog sat down, whimpered and stared at the closed doors. Then God appeared beside the dog, patted his head, and said, “Don’t feel bad, little fella’. . . they won’t let ME in either.”
So here’s the question for the day: What part of your life do you try to keep away from God? Silly question, isn’t it? And yet, every day we try to hide parts of ourselves, our thoughts, attitudes, and actions, away from God’s “prying” eyes. Motivation for this foolishness can take many forms. For some of us it may be shame at decisions we have made or thoughts we have entertained. For others we are embarrassed because we feel we aren’t “good enough.” For whatever reason, we hide ourselves away from God and from others.
I sometimes compare our lives to a home with many rooms. When company comes, we lead them into the main rooms, the ones that are clean and orderly. Here our lives make sense. But down the hallway are seldom-opened doors through which we never bring company. This is where we store our mistakes and disappointments, all the things we don’t want others to see or know about. We hide the parts of ourselves that others might reject.
We keep those doors closed for another reason, too. In at least one of those rooms we store the dreams that we can’t share with anyone else, the hopes that are so much a part of us that we couldn’t bear to see them crushed. So we hide them. Sometimes we go inside, when no one is looking, and we wonder what would happen if our dreams came true, but then we close the door again, to shield them and ourselves from the harsh realities of everyday life.
When Christ knocks, we open the door and lead him into the main rooms of our hearts. Chatting all the while, we show Him around those tidied-up parts of our lives, hoping He’ll be impressed by what He sees. However, when we start to relax, thinking Christ is satisfied with what we have shown Him, He asks to see the rest of the house. Panic sets in! What will He say! What will He think! Just the thought of opening those doors is frightening.
Why do we think we can hide anything from God? What is in our minds that we believe there is a place that God doesn’t see? King David wrote it this way: “Where can I go from your Spirit? Where can I flee from your presence? If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there. If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast. If I say, ‘Surely the darkness will hide me and the light become night around me,’ even the darkness will not be dark to you; the night will shine like the day, for darkness is as light to you” (Psalm 139:7-12).
Your hand is on the doorknob, shaking. You want to tell Him there is nothing there to see, but Jesus places His hand on your shoulder and speaks words of peace that make all the difference. “As I was with Moses, so I will be with you; I will never leave you nor forsake you” (Joshua 1:5b). In that moment you realize you can open the door to Jesus Christ without fear of rejection or loss. If only you had realized sooner that He already knows what is behind that door. You need to open the door for your own healing and peace, so you can realize that in Christ you are free and forgiven.
Friends, I encourage you to take a home inventory this week, not for insurance purposes, but for the strengthening of your faith. Go through the rooms of your heart, taking your loving Savior on a tour of all you have hidden there. And if you find you cannot face what is behind one of those doors, just ask God for help. He speaks those same words of peace to you today, “I will never leave you or forsake you.” Trust in God and find healing and strength in every area of your life.
Pastor Mary Kay Glunt