Angles, demons, spirits, ghosts, vampires, werewolves, witches and wizards. The supernatural pervades our western culture today more than ever. New Age mysticism is on the rise, the occult is coming out of the shadows, the “old gods” are coming back to life. There is, in a sense, a spiritual awakening happening in the Western world. We are moving into a post-secular society where the thirst for the transcendent dominates the hearts and minds of the common man. People crave the spiritual desperately trying to sate their thirst to live for something bigger than themselves, that of life, that offers satisfaction and power, and they will drink from any source that looks pleasing to the eye. Really, who can blame them? For centuries the Church has paved over the wellsprings of life and in a clinical sort of fashion dispensed grace and God out like He was some kind of pill. As N. T. Wright says in Simply Christian:
A generation passed. All seemed to be well. Then, without warning, the springs that had gone on bubbling and sparkling beneath the solid concrete could be contained no longer. In a sudden explosion, a cross between a volcano and an earthquake, they burst through the floor that people had come to take for granted. Muddy, dirty water shot into the air and rushed through the streets and into houses, shops and factories. Roads were torn up, whole cities in chaos. Some people were delighted: at last they could get water again without depending on The System. The people who ran the official water pipes were at a loss. Suddenly everyone had more than enough water, but it wasn’t pure and couldn’t be controlled …
The Church, in its endeavour to do right, has unfortunately done some wrong. Recently, I’ve written an article on how we’ve lost our temple experience when it has come to how we do church. I think this principle applies here. Sunday church, at least in my experience, has become sort of stale, bland, like dry toast. I mean it fills you but it leaves you wanting something sweeter. Why? I dunno. Maybe I’ve just lost touch with what’s important to the Christian experience. Actually, I wouldn’t doubt it. I need God to revive me a clean and fresh heart, one that’s open to His Word, to His sacraments (Baptism and the Lord’s Supper), to His people (the Church). There is a certain sense in which I’ve probably fallen out of love with it all. The romance has faded. However, when I read Acts… there just has to be more then what we’re seeing. I have to wonder if the Sunday church has lost touch with itself, with its temple vibes. Where’s the fear of God? Where’s the crashing experiences of God’s presence? Where’s the unfettered bold preaching of God’s Word? Where’s the power of the Spirit at work among His people? I’m sure it’s out there but, let’s be honest though, it’s few and far between. Is it a wonder then that people are running and drinking from the muddied explosions of water that pour through our streets? We need to break the pavements, expose the tainted wells, and prove that the waters of life that Jesus offers, last.
Pastor, let me encourage you, preach the Word in and out of season, feed your sheep (2 Timothy 4:2). Evangelise, be bold about your faith (Romans 10:4), the harvest is plentiful but the labourers are few (Luke 10:2). Lay hands and pray for healings and miracles (Acts 6:6) even if it doesn’t always happen, God is good and He is in control. Pray hard, God listens and wants to work in your church (1 Thessalonians 5:16). Love others as yourself, because God first loved you (1 John 4:19. Let the rivers of living water flow out from you as you walk in step with Christ and His Spirit (John 7:38).