Romance vs Reality

Rachel and I are just about to embark upon a renovation. We are excited about the prospect of a new kitchen, with a working dishwasher, and enough oven space for a family of six plus guests. A kitchen bench that will accommodate six plates with room for more. We love hosting friends and family and this transformation will mean we can do that with excellence and generosity. We really can’t wait!

I will be taking on the repainting element of the renovation of our house (at this stage anyway). I have taken on this challenge before at our former house and enjoyed the process and loved the sense of fulfilment in playing my part in the transformation of our entire home. When I offered to do it this time I was initially eager and enthusiastic about it.

Today, the impending reality of the paint tins, paintbrushes, cutting in, rolling, washing, drop sheets, back-breaking bending and stretching is bearing down on my mind like a freight train as we draw closer to this project commencing.

This is a classic example of the ROMANCE of a thing vs the REALITY of a thing.

The romance of a wedding vs the reality of marriage.

The romance of a new car vs the reality of loan repayments.

The romance of a new business venture vs the reality of corporate governance compliance.

The romance of a newborn vs the reality of sleeplessness.

The romance of a university degree vs the reality of another 5000 words.

You get the picture!

The church can feel a little bit like this at times. The beautiful romantic truth is that heaven has come to earth and is personified in the body of Jesus, which is His church! However, the reality of this romantic truth is that you and I are invited to pick up a paintbrush and participate in Jesus’ great rescue plan to paint heaven on earth. It is both, and at the same time, an honour and a sacrifice. We get to play our part in the transformation of the entire world, but it will cost us something.

As I was reflecting on this thought today, I was once again astonished by the sacrificial hearts of the people of our church. I was once again overwhelmed with gratitude for how willing and faithful our church leaders are, as they rise to the challenge of bringing heaven to earth in every season. Our church is amazing, making a difference in the lives of so many in our community, both in the physical rooms of our church and even online, every single week.

Ephesians 1:23 MSG The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. The church is Christ’s body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

Our mandate, just like the Apostle Paul reminds the church in Ephesus, is to reverberate and amplify the truth that the church, the gathered community of faith, was, is and always will be the answer. The challenge for us today is to keep on picking up that paintbrush. It might be hard work at times, it may not feel like the reality of heaven on earth is here today. What we must remember, is that commensurate with our willingness to lean into this sacrifice, is the beauty we will see brought to bear in our world, in our own homes, and yes, even in our kitchens. It is worth it. It always was, always is and always will be.

So, thank you team, for always going above and beyond, always stepping up and doing everything you can to bring heaven to earth in your own way, as we continue to commit to gathering together across our churches.