It has been an emotional few days for our church family, but we will move on. It is not that we don’t mourn what we lost, but we don’t need the building to be who we are. That is what is so beautiful about this tragedy. I know the officials have called this a “total loss” but I don’t believe that is possible with God.
We have seen tremendous publicity in this. It is a bit overwhelming to have to talk with so many reporters, but it is also an unusual opportunity for a church. We have been able to share the message of our faith in Jesus Christ with many people. (a story from the Boston Globe) I would say that is not a total loss, nor is it ever a loss at all.
Our worship service yesterday was different in venue, but it was Spirit filled. We had visitors from the community who came to “see what we were about” because they heard comments we had made to the news outlets. We were able to praise God together and pray for the arsonist and his family. Someone in the church even reached out to the family before the service and extended God’s grace to them. That is not a total loss, but rather a tremendous gain in the Kingdom of God.
People who have been missing from church for a while have showed up. It seems like times like these bring people together, even if the plan was to tear us apart. God does these things all the time! That is not a total loss.
God does not live in a building. He is not bound by walls. He is not tied to any location. He is everywhere. He dwells in us. A church fire is not a total loss because God cannot be destroyed.
There is sadness. I look at the church and realize that my office is nowhere to be seen. This doesn’t bother me too much for most things there, except for the stack of things my kids have given me for my wall over the years. In fact, my kids were hoping I would come home the other day with something of theirs. There is nothing there. It is sad, but not a total loss.
The memories we do not ignore. Our daughter was the third of our children to be dedicated at this church. She was dedicated this last Sunday. I don’t consider that a loss at all.
In Christ we gain so much. God has ways of reshaping priorities.
“But whatever was to my profit I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss compared to the surpassing greatness of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them rubbish, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God and is by faith.” – Philippians 3:7 -9
Through Jesus Christ we only gain. In Jesus Christ we find all that we need. The rest is rubbish by comparison, as hard as it is to set those things aside sometimes. This is not a total loss; It is a total gain.