Netting in the Church

Pigeon guano. It is gross, filthy stuff. And it doesn’t look pretty. My office looks out to a small courtyard were we have a little fountain and some plants. It is a great way to let light into our offices and give us the occasional shot of fresh air. But years ago some vermin found out about the lovely spot and tried to claim it as their own. Pigeons. The roosted and with glee pooped all over the courtyard.

Our facilities team tried everything to get them to leave. First it was the fake owls that would hoot when their motion sensor went off. Then the pellet gun. This was gruesome. I would be writing a sermon and watch as an innocent pigeon fell from the sky when the pellet fit its mark. Nothing would work however and the pigeons kept coming back and making a mess of the place.

So last week the courtyard’s opening to the sky was netted. Now nothing larger than a quarter of an inch can enter the courtyard. No pigeons and no other birds for that matter. I am glad for this. It will be easier to keep the courtyard clean and I can let my kids play in it.

But this development has me thinking about how we do church and can be prone to netting the church so the mess doesn’t makes its way in. Here is the truth; we want people to be fixed by Jesus. We want problems to be resolved and addictions to be broken. We want relationships to be restored and hope to be in the eyes of everyone that comes to our church. This however is not how we come to Christ. None of us has come to him clean. And the moment we suggest in our churches that we should be fixed before we come, we have neglect the gospel and should close our doors not just apply new netting at the entrance.

What are some of the things we do that exclude the broken and hurting, the messy pieces of life? All we need to do is look to Jesus and the messes he was willing to wade into as our model. We don’t tell people how sinful we are because we are proud of it but because it is true and like them we are a pigeon guano type mess without Jesus. And that is the point: Jesus. He takes on the crap, he takes on the mess and cleans it. He resolves the brokenness. He fixes our hearts. This is the story we must tell. Let’s tear down our nets and lead each other to the truer and better solution.

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