When I stationed in Germany in the 70’s I took advantage of visiting castles in the area. One of them stood majestically over the Mosel River. During the wine fest there was a reenactment of the burning of the castle when it was under siege. It was a spectacular display of the events that occurred. Rockets representing flaming objects launched from a catapult until one finally hit the armory and a sparkling cascade flowed over the walls. Last summer, 2016, I again had the pleasure of going back to Germany for a week and hiking the mountains surrounding Garmisch-Partenkirchen. One of the trails I hiked led to the ruins of Werdenfels castle. It is a castle in ruins with some of the walls standing.
Other imagines that most of us can relate are to the forts that were built along the eastern seaboard and those built as America transitioned west. Some of the forts were built from stone while others were made from timbers. Each was built as a place of defense, security and an exploration outpost.
One thing in common with all the castle and forts, whether standing or in ruins, are the walls enclosed a common area and were designed to protect those inside. It was from these forts and castles that envoys went out to the surrounding areas. Those who went out represented those who occupied the fort or castle. They would go out to explore, to check on those in the immediate area, and to share the message of the ruler or those in command.
Our lives in the church are similar. The church for many is a safe place from the outside world. It can be a safe place to share ideas with friends. It can be a safe place to have fellowship with others. It can be a safe place where outsiders remain outside and the cares of the world are at an arm distance. It can a safe place where your needs are ministered to.
There is more to the church than just meeting our own needs. It is the place where we learn about Christ, about His grace and mercy, how to help those in need as Jesus did. We learn to become disciples. The church is not a hiding place rather it is a place of refueling, refreshing, replenishing and preparing to go out into the world to share the hope we have in Christ.
If we stay within the walls of the church and not go out we will starve ourselves and the church. Jesus gave us the Great Commission to go out and share. (Matt. 28:18-19 ESV) And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, In our Post Communion prayer we also pray, “Send us out to do the work you have given us to do…” Let us go out and share the Good News, let invite those who need a safe place and share with the God’s grace, love, mercy, and hope.