04 June 2007

Are you listening?

I find it interesting when things seem to flow together. For example. I have had some long conversations with a friend about our church, and what it should look like. One of the things that my friend said is that our church is a crossroads.

A crossroads is a place where two or more roads meet. It is also a place where people tend to congregate at they travel these roads.

The Roman empire was noted for their roads, which facilitated travel across the length and breadth of the known world. Paul knew these roads and traveled them during his journeys, eventually ending in the city of Rome.

What was unique about Paul, and Christ as well, was that they knew the importance of a crossroads. Galilee was such a crossroads, and his teaching and preaching focused on the crossroads between Greek and Hebrew culture.

Paul focused on the major cities of Asia Minor and Greece, planting churches that would impact the people that passed through them with the claims of the gospel. These churches were planted in cities that were crossroads.

What my friend suggested was that Grenoble is a crossroads. People come here literally from all over the world, stay a while, and then move on elsewhere. We have people from the UK, France, US, Canada, Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, China, Germany, Singapore, India --which is just a partial role call. If that is the case (and it is), what are we as a church doing to impact these people? How do we help them to begin a journey of faith with Christ, or to equip these saints for ministry, so that when they leave, they will be prepared to minister to others at their next stop?

This past weekend, Harry, the speaker at the men's dinner, spoke about hearing what is really said. As the story goes, he was driving in the country when a woman drove by and yelled "Pig!" at him. He leaned out the window and yelled "Cow!" He then came around a bend in the road and had to stop quickly, in the road in front of him was the largest pig he had ever seen.

I didn't think much about it at the time. Nor did I think much about the email I received from another friend discussing the vertical and horizontal axes of the cross. The upward axis is the Christian life lived to and for God, and the horizontal axis is the Christian life lived to and for other Christians and others who have yet to follow Christ in the faith journey.

I've heard it before, so basically I filed it away. During the sermon on Sunday about the church in Acts 2v42-47, the main illustration was a picture of a cross, with a discussion about the significance of the horizontal and vertical axes, as mentioned above.

I was beginning to hear. I knew that the church should be a crossroads, but I hadn't considered what that looked like. We had to be a crossroads, but to do that we had to have both the horizontal and the vertical axes in place and in balance. And, quite frankly, seen from above, the crossroads is cross shaped.

So Harry, I think I got what you meant. You need to listen to what is said, but often what is said is in a conversation, which means it often comes in little pieces. It also means that sometimes you don't get it right off, it had to soak for a while before you can do anything with it.

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