This past Friday my wife and I hiked up to Indian Lake in north central New Mexico for an overnight camping trip. The lake is situated about 9500 ft., is so very picturesque, is the result of an extinct volcano and is miles from the nearest city. That last characteristic is what helped inspire this blog.
At about 1:30 am, both my wife and I were up to experience one of the most breathtaking views either of us have ever seen. Being a moonless night high in the Carson National Forrest and miles from the nearest city, the amount of visible stars was like nothing we had ever witnessed before. It took our breath away as it seemed almost fabricated to inspire total awe.
I know I am stating the obvious here, but as I was contemplating that magnificent view the poignant thought came to me that the only reason we were able to “see the light” of so many stars was because there was no artificial light anywhere nearby to diminish, obscure or minimize those “thousand (upon millions) points of light”.
Perhaps this can help illustrate the risk I, you or the church takes when we engage in bright, loud, extravagant or other modern elements not central to the simple message of the Gospel. When we start to sound or look like the latest multi-media concert, sales promotion or advertisement it may be that we are offering “artificial light” which although bright and attractive diminishes the pure and simple light of the Gospel. I do not want to “throw the baby out with the bath water”, but I do want to consider what I do in the flesh that causes the un-churched to see me as just another voice in the cacophony of voices competing for the hearts, minds and passions of the populace.
In my post from May 2 – Lessons from the Ark (not Noah’s), I point out the error king David made in taking a cue from the secular Philistines in building a modern pretty cart on which to carry the ark up to Jerusalem. There are many scholars and books written on all the parallelism in the fixtures, dimensions and design of the ark and temple. I am not one of those scholars, but if the ark is a metaphor for the Gospel and the Word of God (as most suggest), then there must be a reason there was an absolute law the ark was to be born on the shoulders of men and not by some conveyance of man’s invention for convenience sake. Sure an ox driven cart easily carried the actual words of God. In fact it would be easy to design a cart that could carry many arks all at once with little input from man other than the occasional outstretched hand to steady things ….. Oh wait, that didn’t work out so well for Uzzah. This embracing of “secular innovation” did in fact cause death and discouragement and ultimately failed.
How am I, how are you and how is the church conveying the Gospel message? I am not suggesting we avoid modern conveniences, but I am saying that the light of Christ within each of us is enough. It’s always been enough and it will always be enough. Enough inspiration, love, truth, compassion and salt to attract any who would be saved to the “un-plugged”, powerful yet simple and un-matched message of salvation found in the Gospel of Jesus Christ.