There seems to be an epidemic going around. Lately it seems that if I’m running out of writing material, all I have to do is go for a ride. Inevitably, I am appalled at yet another bad church sign. And I’m not looking for them—they find me! Usually, it’s when I’m on my way to church. On route to Bible study, I came across this doozy:
Download your worries, get online with God.
It’s starting to get to me. I wanted to walk in this beautiful stone church and say, “Really? Really? Could you make the church look any cheesier? Is this what you learned in seminary? Is this how you relate to our culture?”
Is this supposed to be a metaphor for prayer? Instead of offering a personal Creator and Savior, we are once again given a cheap replica that can “keep up with the times.” But “the times” change, God doesn’t. And in prayer there is thankfully much more going on then downloading our worries.
On the way to Sunday service we passed the sign and I told my family, “Take a look at my next article.” That’s when my daughter educated me on the fact that there is a website where you can “talk to God” and he answers you back. In a quick Google search, I found that you can talk to God on dumb.com. Well, I would expect to see something like this on dumb.com. Then I found igod, with the tagline, “repenting made easy.” You actually type in your confession and hit “send.” Underneath there is a disclaimer: “igod is meant to be used for fun. A sense of humor is recommended.”
I don’ think that this evangelical church that I was passing was referencing these websites. Rather, I think it was just trying to be cute. Whoever is in charge of sign maintenance must have one of those books full of quaint quotations for church signs. I’m hoping these are not the sermon titles for the week.
But let me do a little dissecting while giving this church the cheesy benefit of the theological doubt. First of all, my pastor pointed out (when he saw the sign and just knew that I’d be writing an article), you download something onto your computer. If you want to give it to someone else, you upload it. So you see, this sign is wrong on so many levels.
Our personal Savior and Lord, Jesus Christ tells us that we are not to be anxious because he takes care of us. No, we are not “online with God,” we are in Christ, our perfect mediator.
Our culture is enamored with mediated devices. They are certainly helpful when you can’t be face to face. But sometimes I worry that we would rather not be face to face anymore. Cell phones and computers are impersonal. Now that it’s summer break, my daughter is all the more into ooVoo, video-chatting with her friends using her ipod. I’ll have to say that I’m happy to see her talking to faces rather than texting. But they are still concocting ways to get together at baseball games and sleepovers. As cool as ooVoo is, they actually want to be together.
Our sin creates an enormous distance between ourselves and God. If we were to see him face to face, we would die from his necessary wrath. Our God is holy. He is also full of mercy.
For there is one God and one mediator between God and men, the man Jesus Christ, who gave himself as a ransom for all, which is the testimony given at the proper time (1 Tim.2:5,6).
As our perfect mediator, both God and man, Christ has removed what kept us at a distance from our holy God. As our surety, he has also procured for us his full inheritance in the covenant of grace. We were at enmity with God, and could never see him face to face. We were dead in our sins.
But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, even when we were dead in trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus (Eph. 2:4-7).
My biggest worry has been taken care of—the wrath of God. But he is so gracious that he has gone far beyond that into a covenant relationship through his own Son, Jesus Christ. I have been “sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory” (Eph. 1:13b-14). And although I have free access to God now in prayer, I long for the day that I will see him face to face.