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Building God’s house

| Sunday, November 16, 2014

“I thought Sunday was a day of rest?” This is the question I ask myself every two weeks as I arise at 6 a.m. to begin preparations for the Confirmation sessions I coordinate through my Indianapolis parish.

On this particular day, like most days, there’s silence at this hour. I am the only one that’s stirring, save for the fog that has pitched camp in the grass just beneath my window. Past the fog, though, I can only see one thing – darkness.

Soon, however, my morning routine fills the day with light and activity. I shower, dress and grab my smiley face mug to fill it with coffee. It doesn’t take long before my own morning fog has begun to lift.

It lifts just in time for me to be able to drive to work. After the short drive to the parish, the fog greets me again. It has apparently decided to camp here too. Through it, however, I catch a glimpse of the sanctuary lamp through the windows of the church. It casts a small light, and I smile to myself as I remember the big truth it signifies: Jesus is really there.

And you know what? I can’t stop smiling. The reality of the darkness that I awoke to is no more. In its place, I encounter the reality of a light that is so much greater. It is the light of Christ, one whose love shines no matter the weather of our lives.

Of course, this is the same Jesus that had to weather a lot himself. This is the same Jesus that was beaten and spit upon, the same Jesus that was crucified, the same Jesus that was nailed to a cross and left to die. That Jesus is really there in that sanctuary.

Right in front of me is the most awesome reminder that no matter the weather, no matter what we do to Him, God never turns his back on us.

I get to the office and I have a stack of e-mails waiting for me. “Sorry, Scott, my son can’t be at Confirmation due to a homework group meeting.” “Scott, my daughter has a soccer tournament out of state. She will not be in attendance today.” Sure, Jesus never turns his back on us, but sometimes it feels like we turn our backs on Him. After reading more of these, I have to admit that I get a little bit deflated.

After such a good start to the day, I can’t help but think to myself now: Why do so many things take precedence over spending time with God?

We put so much ahead of Him. And, as I’ve experienced, spending time with God is never convenient, especially when there’s homework or soccer to worry about. Fortunately for us, God’s promises to us transcend convenience.

C.S. Lewis once wrote in this manner in his book, “Mere Christianity”:

“Imagine yourself as a living house. God comes in to rebuild that house. At first, perhaps, you can understand what He is doing. He is getting the drains right and stopping the leaks in the roof and so on; you knew that those jobs needed doing and so you are not surprised. But presently He starts knocking the house about in a way that hurts abominably and does not seem to make any sense. What on earth is He up to? The explanation is that He is building quite a different house from the one you thought of – throwing out a new wing here, putting on an extra floor there, running up towers, making courtyards. You thought you were being made into a decent little cottage, but He is building a palace. He intends to come and live in it Himself.”

Why do we live within the constraints of our own agenda when God promises us so much more? He wants to make our hearts so big, so “palatial” that they will be able to absorb and be filled with as much of his love as possible.

But, of course, it costs our hearts something to be fashioned in this way. As Lewis observed further, “We are half-hearted creatures, fooling about … when infinite joy is offered us … we are far too easily pleased.” We fool about with worldly things we think will satisfy us, only to realize they weren’t the things we really desire.

Thus, as Lewis remarked, “If we find ourselves with a desire that nothing in this world can satisfy, the most probable explanation is that we were made for another world.”

Want to know the exciting thing? That world is not completely beyond our grasp. We can build God’s kingdom now; our hearts can become the palaces of the Most High. We just have the take the time to open our hearts to God’s will. He can do the rest.

The views expressed in this column are those of the author and not necessarily those of The Observer.

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