Irrelevant lighthouses, churches, and Christians

lighthouseFor such a small state, Rhode Island has a tremendous amount of coastline and therefore lots of lighthouses.  This is one we saw yesterday.  I love the beauty of lighthouses.  But lighthouses also make me sad when I think about how important they used to be and how today they serve only as photo opportunities.  These once vital towers whose light would penetrate the darkest night, the densest fog, and the most disastrous storms to offer hope to and sometimes saving those at sea are completely unnecessary today.  Today they are symbols, albeit beautiful symbols, of another era.

Many people in America do not know that many (if not most) churches in Europe are the equivalent of lighthouses.  These churches are nothing more than beautiful symbols of another era.  They, too, were once these vital towers that would penetrate the darkest nights and most disastrous storms of life.  Today many are beautiful museums no longer offering hope to nor saving anyone.

And if we were being honest, we all know of a church around us that is on the way to irrelevance or already there, even though people still meet there on Sundays and maybe even through the week for a Bible study.  Perhaps you even attend one.

And the purpose of today’s blog is not to lament or long for the days when lighthouses in New England or churches in England were relevant.  Those days are long gone.  The purpose is to remind you that we, as Christians who make up the church in America, are called to be relevant.  None of us can do it on a large scale, but each of us can make a difference on a small scale in our own circles and to those we meet.  We do that by loving others and proclaiming the Good News of Jesus Christ to everyone.   And when we do that, some people will still pay no attention and may even sink.  That is on them.  But if we don’t at least let them know, then it’s on us.  And we become worse than irrelevant.

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