Screen Door Christianity
You shall make a veil of blue and purple and scarlet material and fine twisted linen; it shall be made with cherubim, the work of a skillful workman. You shall hang it on four pillars of acacia overlaid with gold, their hooks also being of gold, on four sockets of silver. You shall hang up the veil under the clasps, and shall bring the ark of the testimony there within the veil; and the veil shall serve for you as partition between the holy place and holy of Holies… You shall make a screen for the doorway of the tent… Exodus 25:31-33,36
The veil was very necessary. It wasn’t about decoration on the temple, but was about saving lives. The curtain signified that nothing unclean, impure, or unholy could dare pass the veil for if they did they would surely die. The veil of partition was for the safety of Gods people in the presence of a Holy God. A lot of work and design went in to how this veil would look and the function it would serve. What struck me this morning was that even while God had given intricate detail on this veil He was planning on ripping it apart one day. At the moment Jesus released His spirit on the Cross “the curtain in the sanctuary of the Temple was torn in two, from top to bottom.” (Mt 27:50). It was clearly God doing the tearing. All that workmanship, all of that tradition, all of the grand design, all of it coming from God Himself and then He tore it in two? It significance cannot be overstated! Through Christ’s sacrifice we all now have access to His presence. We are all so thankful for this reality! Right? So, why are we still putting up the screen door?
It was during one of our pre-service prayer gatherings a month ago when I saw this picture of me standing on one side of the screen door inside my house and Jesus standing on the other side of the screen… outside my house. God was warning me and our team of Screen Door Christianity. We can still hear His voice and see His face, but we are not about to let Him in the house. We are satisfied that we have a good relationship with Jesus, but we are still able to maintain a comfortable distance. Not a backsliding distance like those who close the solid door on Jesus. We feel good about this. Here’s the deal though, a screen door… is still a door. We want Christ where we want Him. We don’t want to let Him inside because then He starts ripping up the beautiful things we have made for Him, the very things He asked us to make for Him a while ago. The beautiful hand-crafted works of art we created for Him. Jesus seems highly unpredictable and intimacy is messy so… screen door Christianity works out great! Religion becomes the substitute for relationship because it feels safer and makes us feel more in control while at the same time not turning our backs on the Savior. So, our screen doors can be anything in life and ministry that we have built up, worked hard on designing, has been in place for a while, that Jesus is saying its time to tear down. We wants us with Him more then what we do for Him. Our presence in His presence in the present tense is His priority. This is the whole reason He faced the horrors of the Cross in the first place. What worked before wont work anymore! Christ’s sacrifice wasn’t so that we would build another barrier between us in the name of the very One who tore it down! The Cross tore the door down completely and it’s time to leave it that way!
Forgive me for any distance between us that I have put in place by refusing to allow You to have full control. If You are tearing something away it’s because You want more of me not more of whatever I was doing for You! It hurt a lot to have New Hope Seattle torn away as you called me to New Hope Legacy in Kona. I’m so glad I didn’t fight You on it though. I don’t want a screen door between You and I no matter how beautiful it is. I pray that I would resist the temptation to pick up that which You have torn down simply because it feels familiar, safe and controllable. I don’t want my life or this church to simply be a museum of torn drapes I have decided hang back up in Kona. This is a new place and a new people and You are doing a new thing that requires giving You full access to the house. No more screen door. It may be messy and uncomfortable but, I want my life to be all Yours and all access all the time!