Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Get Up! Stand Up! Rise Up!

A young and rather creative minister was assigned to serve a congregation that was riddled with numerous issues which impeded its growth. Many who had gone there before him ended up frustrated as to the possibility that this church could be turned around. The common sentiment was that the church was “dead”.
Having given much thought to his predicament and the obvious challenge that was before him, the young preacher sat down and carefully prepared his inaugural sermon. In preparation for this service he ordered that a casket be made. Instead of the usual first Sunday communion service, he sent word out that the congregation should come prepared for a burial. This, he told all the leaders and other members of the congregation, was to be a unique funeral service.
Arriving at the church that Sunday, no one knew what to expect. There in front of the podium stood a covered casket. No one had died as far as anyone knew, so who was being buried…? Out of morbid curiosity a great crowd showed up for this spectacle; some wondering aloud if this new preacher was “a little out of his mind.” The church was filled to capacity, as word spread far and wide about the new preacher’s announcement.
As the time to begin the service approached, the young man stood before the gathering and introduced himself. Having done so he then made the following pronouncement: “I have been told by everyone that this church is dead. Many have told me that not even a miracle could revive her. And so today we will do with this church what is done with every dead thing. We will bury it.”
Not knowing what to expect, everyone was silent. It was a silence born out of the latent expectations of people who had long lost any spark of dynamism. They had all shrugged off any hope for a revival. The preacher continued: “And so, as the custom is, I will now ask that you all line up and take a final look at the dead before we bury it. Please approach and take a good last look at the dead.”
And they all did; because in the bottom of that casket was a mirror.
That church has never been the same since.

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