Hard to believe that it is just one month until Christmas. Time to open the windows of the church. Brrrrr…. Wait, isn’t that COLD? Actually no, that’s the warmest thing you can do. It is always a JOY to “Spill the Spirit” out from the church to those whom God needs us to reach. Loving the lyrics by Paul Balouche: “Open the Eyes of My Heart Lord – I want to see You”. Yes, He is in view when we look – He will come close to us especially when He is using us to get His message to others – yes we want to see Him in action. We must invite the people in and BETTER YET: go to meet the people where they are. Jesus did.
I was sitting in a recently re-opened church, still in covid-times, and oh that sharp breeze… in November?? Bring not a good sweater but your winter coat! Actually, we are having a warm autumn, and I do have many warm coats, so whom am I to complain. These windows are open for the breeze to enter to increase airflow to combat and break up the potential pockets of airborne Sars2 virus. The “solution to pollution is dilution” – this takes on a whole new meaning today.
The other of my church families is having extra Christmas eve services inside the building, to reduce close quarters and for one mid-afternoon service they are bringing a big circus tent to their parking lot (and heaters), complete with Living Nativity. The airflow will be good for the health of the people and the outdoor openness will be good for the flow the Spirit and to warm the hearts. I was THRILLED to attend Easter sunrise service in my car there and went to many outdoor events all over the place all summer. This time we won’t wear an Easter bonnet but our Cheerful Christmas Caps). And a mask is a must. I wear mine, even outside, it keeps my rosy cheeks less chapped. Whom am I to complain as I have knowledge to play it safe, comply and smile with my eyes.
Recently, I visited a hilltop church graveyard near my work, where I walk occasionally. It was a brilliantly blue-sky day, so loving the fresh air and good exercise. Sheep usually roam this church yard but it is quiet now, the playground is empty, the services online. Pulling up the quaint tree-lined path there are cute signs – spaced like the Burma shave road sign advertisements of old – “Help Us With” – “Our Godly Task” – “Now’s The Time” – “Put On Your Mask”. Yes so cute. This church surely has seen its share of challenging times, more than most, having been built in 1711 (YES!) Pre-Revolution – before King George was even King – 20 years before George Washington was even born! And the gravestones are old, sometimes just marker stones next to the main family headstone. Scattered among them are the Revolutionary soldier grave markers, these stand as testaments, like the trees, that those peoples would have seen MUCH MORE tough times than we could ever imagine. Can you see the stark contrasts of cultures and yet praise from these people who had it tough yet praising the Lord enough to build a church. It has withstood the test of time and the Lord certainly was sustaining these people. If their gravestone could cry out, we would hear tales of lives lost young and praise for long lives lived. We too should praise the Lord in our modern times, for He has gifted us worldly conveniences and improved health.In this cemetery, the people may have died from something that you take for granted is curable and now preventable. Like from every virus in your immunization chart.
Historically there was another time where church windows were opened – holes placed in walls – to allow attendance of those who suffered anything that was thought to be leprosy. The windows were called leper squints. (FYI Mycobacterium Leprae infection is now treatable and curable with courses of antibiotics – believe it or not, it still affects 250,000 people worldwide). In Jesus’s time and for a thousand years plus, the lepers were also forced to live isolated from the rest. Unclean – but allowed to listen to the gospel by the church servants who knew that everyone could be cleansed eternally by Jesus’s Love.
Are we open now to helping those who perceive themselves “unclean” and bring them the Good News of Jesus? Are we open now to making the best we can in the circumstances that we have? It is NOT JUST by putting on our best Christmas Cheer, but by us opening the windows for new ways to worship – to walk – to wait on the Lord – to share the Good News.
I heard a saying that Christmas is not cancelled this year. True! Because Christmas IS the birth of the One who saves us all. We must adjust logistics, sure, but isn’t our best mentor in the ONE who changed His logistics but not His Will to accomplish saving us.
So, put on your cheerful Christmas cap, and your Godly task of a mask, and get OUTSIDE – open the windows of the churches and pray the Lord to open the eyes of our hearts.
Help Jesus be known.