In the center of Honolulu, is a small and very old cemetery, where many of the original missionaries, who came to these islands in the 1800′s are buried. I’ve wandered through this cemetery many times reading the inscriptions on the stones and marveling at the faith and fortitude that brought these folks so far from their homes and families. Many of whom, I am certain never saw their former homes or loved ones again after having reached these distant shores.
What was it that caused people like these to leave their homes and families and travel to such a far off destination? To buckle up their high top leather shoes, pack their bags and board rickety ships never knowing for certain that they would even reach their intended destination. And, yet they did. Exercising a faith that most of us cannot even imagine.
The islands have changed greatly since the first missionaries arrived. The gospel that swept the islands and influenced the monarchy have now been replaced by high-tech places of worship – if you can call it that – complete with big screen t.v.s, elaborate sound systems, recliners and coffee bars. Necessary additions in this day and age (as some would have us believe) in order to compete with an ever growing and dizzying array of weekend entertainment. The honey that attracts the flies.
But, is this what the gospel is all about?
On Friday evening I attended by way of a memorial service a church that is relatiavely new to the islands. It had all of the accoutrements mentioned above including a couple of modern art rendtions of Jesus with blood streaming down his face – either that or they were former congregants; bikers, who had suffered severe head trauma in a rumble and were lucky (or unlucky) enough to have it captured in art.
The front lobby served as a hub to various adventure destinations in a way that would put a cruise ship activity director to shame. And, yet for all of this – the popularity of these seeker friendly churches - the fabric of our society appears unchanged. The impact of Christ and his church, “salt and light” barely noticeable, if at all.
Jesus said that there would be a cost involved in following him. He knew what was ahead; where, the road to Calvary led. He also knew that the road ahead for those who would choose to follow him would be no less tough. Therefore, he advises us to count the cost. But, for some reason, somewhere along the way, in our day and age, we seem to have exchanged “pick up your cross and follow me” with “pick up your latte and find a seat”! Is that what Jesus was talking about?
The Bible warns us about the church of Laodicea. Christ hates it. It’s neither hot nor cold. Lukewarm, a latte that even the most seeker friendly church goer would reject. The words sting and most of us would like to think that it does not apply to us. That it applies to some one else. But, I have to ask myself, as, I do you, does it?
Something, I’ll be thinking about in the next few days.
“Pray for the peace of Jerusalem, they shall prosper, who love thee” Psalm 122:6
Watching and waiting with YOU for the soon return of Jesus! Cindy