Previous Challenge Entry (Level 2 – Intermediate)
Topic: The Church (12/06/07)
TITLE: The Dwelling Where God Lives
By Suzanne Shepard
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Like quietly rolling mist over warm river waters on a cool autumn morn, the fogginess in my mind slowly began to rise. I rubbed my eyes several times trying to clear my vision. Finally the landscape before me came into focus but nothing looked familiar. Instantly fear gripped my heart and I called out in desperation;
“Where am I? Somebody….anybody…” But there was no answer.
I was standing in the middle of a crowded street in a town of fairly good size but it all looked foreign to me. As I began to walk the street, the heaviness of the dew-drenched air sent waves of shivers careening through my lightly clothed body. The short-sleeved cotton shirt and khaki shorts were not appropriate attire for the chilled atmosphere surrounding me.
“Hello sir, can you help me? Ma’am…. Hey, can you tell me where I am?” I called out to the folks walking close to me, but like zombies in a horror film, they just ignored the sound of my voice and kept on walking.
“What the…..where in the world am I?” I was starting to feel a bit anxious, and quite frankly more than a bit ‘freaked-out’.
There’s got to be a place around here where I can find help.
“Hey sir,” I called out to the gentleman pushing past me. “Where can I find a priest?”
He answered me with a blank stare. Now I wasn’t about to be brushed off so quickly so I scrambled to follow him up the street.
I tried again. “Sir, you know what I mean – a holy man, a priest, a pastor – where can I find one in this town?”
“There is none,” was the man’s cold monotone reply.
“What do you mean… “There is none”… there’s got to be one somewhere. What kind of a place is this…no priest? I never heard of such a thing. Who are these people?
I kept walking, bumping shoulders with more expressionless-faced people. My ever increasing anxiety accentuated the cold feelings welling up inside of me and my body began to shiver violently as if I were convulsing.
Just then, silently from behind someone wrapped a warm, sheep-skin lined cloak around my shoulders and quickly walked on.
“Who….Thank you.” I called out to the stranger already lost in the crowd ahead of me.
I made my way over to an outside café. A nice hot cup of tea sounded good. Maybe I could just sit awhile, get something to eat and figure out what I needed to do next. I reached into my pocket to see how much money I had and my groping fingers found nothing…my pockets were empty.
That’s just great! Well, I can forget that idea. And so I walked on.
“Sir, come here.” A frail little woman called to me from the porch of a small line-house situated just off the sidewalk.
“Come here and sit down, son….I see you are new around here so perhaps you’d like a cup of hot tea and a sandwich." The warmth of the little woman’s smile calmed me considerably and my anxiety began to subside.
Then like a beacon in the night, a gentleman walked up and engaged me in a short conversation. He invited me to his home for the night. We walked a ways in silent accord and then we arrived at his doorstep. When he opened the door a brilliant inviting light flowed out. It enveloped me in its warmth and the heart of the home carried me in effortlessly.
Immediately I was surrounded by faces beaming with the essence of the noonday sun. It was obvious that the love and light of the Lord resided here… I believe I found the true church. It wasn’t in the building I was searching for, it was found in the hearts and lives of the people who are filled with the love and presence of Jesus Christ.
“Welcome brother!” They all called out to me.
“Through him we have access to the Father by one Spirit. Consequently, you are no longer foreigner and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household… In him the whole building is joined together… And in him you too are being built together to become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit.” Ephesians 2:18-22 (NIV)
We are His Church.
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