We passed by an old Anglican church building yesterday on the 902km journey home. The late afternoon colours of the ancient structure demanded my attention as we drove through the town of Woodburn NSW, beckoning us to reach for the camera’s. The church was opened on February 22nd, 1925 by the Bishop of Lismore, the Right Reverend John Carroll. Today the doors are locked and the termites have taken dominion over this classic post WW1 construction. The Glory days are long gone. The old building is destined for demolition and a lonely final chapter.
Across the road….. the local Pub was doing a roaring Sunday afternoon trade with a band playing some favourite tunes for the beer drinking crowd.
I wondered where Jesus would have preferred to be hangin’ out. The answer was easy. Jesus loved people.
Somehow, somewhere we lost our way. We became religious, legalistic and judgemental. We started worshipping the way we worship and forgot the Word. We separated ourselves from hurting and helpless people. We put up big walls of denomination and argued about rituals, theology and tradition. We became elite. We lost the very essence of God’s merciful, forgiving grace. We forgot his love, poured out for all through Christ’s blood as he died a criminal’s death on a Roman Cross. We became everything He asked us not to become.
“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27
I like this kind of religion. A religion that says “lay down your life so that Jesus can live in you and do mighty things through you.” A life that is all about helping others and constantly being refreshed by the creator of the universe. A life of adventure, obedience and faith. That’s living!! And yes…. a precious part of living is being part of a local church. Churches die when people give up on what God called them to in the first place.
“Never tear down in unbelief what has been built by faith”.
By the way… The old Church is for sale. I wish I could buy it and restore it to it’s original glory. What if the music was better across the road?
It’s 2.34am and I just drove for 12 hours. Better get some sleep. Thanks so much for supporting what we do.