One of the things I love most about living in Charlotte is the view of the skyline as I am riding into Uptown. As I approach the heart of the city, I am confronted by beautifully colossal structures that render a sense of awe and wonder.
Many days, as I have traversed the streets between these buildings, I often think about what must have went into their construction.
Parked at a stoplight, peering upwards to the skyscraper beside me, I am taken back by the sheer magnitude of steel and glass that has been shaped into something so picturesque.
There have been huge technological advances in skyscraper construction that have led to some impressive and artistically beautiful pieces of architecture. The creativity of these buildings displayed throughout the world grab every onlooker’s attention as they encounter the design birthed from the architect’s mind.
The one common thing they all share though is a strong internal structure built upon a secure foundation. This internal structure consists of pillars that are needed to provide essential support for these great buildings.
As I think of the construction of the buildings that create one of the most beautiful city skylines I have seen, I can’t help but think of the church.
You see, the church was created to be this breathtaking masterpiece that, when encountered by anyone who saw it, would create a sense of awe and wonder of the architect who designed it.
It is to be a structure of such magnitude and splendor that everyone would take notice and be overcome by its construction and beauty.
But the crazy thing is that the church is not a building made of bricks, and glass, and steel.
No….The church has been built out of living stones.
The Bible says it this way in 1 Peter, Chapter 2:
“As you come to him, a living stone rejected by men but in the sight of God chosen and precious, you yourselves like living stones are being built up as a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ”
What the Scripture is saying is that God is building His church out of His people, who through their faith in Christ, are being pieced together into this beautiful design God has created for a purpose.
We learn a great bit about that purpose elsewhere in the book of Ephesians, Chapter 3 when Paul writes:
“to bring to light for everyone what is the plan of the mystery hidden for ages in God who created all things, so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. This was according to the eternal purpose that he has realized in Christ Jesus our Lord, in whom we have boldness and access with confidence through our faith in him.”
What he is saying is that the church, this group of people that God has joined together, will display the “manifold wisdom” of God to all of the universe.
Manifold wisdom carries the imagery of a diamond you hold up to the light. As you rotate it in your hand, the light hits the precious stone and refracts in different ways that display multiple colors and facets, every one of them just as beautiful as the other.
The church is a display of this beautiful design God intended to be so unique and so beautiful that, when the light shows through, it makes everyone and everything stop and adore the one who could create such a masterpiece.
The church has a secure foundation and it has worthy pillars that lend it an internal structure that is able to support such a majestic and brilliant design.
But if I am honest……..
I find myself often asking this question:
“How many in my city are overcome with awe and wonder when they encounter the church?”
It is not lost on me that there are going to be MANY responses and reactions to me even writing that sentence.
But the truth is, I believe there is a divine tension that we encounter when we ask ourselves the question.
And in THAT tension…….
I believe we can find and (re)discover the beauty and majesty of the architect’s heart for His creation.
So I want to invite you along on this journey with me as we spend time over the next few days and weeks, digging into, asking hard questions, and uncovering the truth of this beautiful structure that I love and believe is something my city desperately needs to encounter in a real and tangible way.
Let me take you to church.