The Harbor Bridge lesson

Revelation 4
Yesterday, I talked about the geography of scripture teaching us. And to look for how your geography might offer a faith lesson. I have one from my church.

As many of you know, I have served Kelsey Memorial UMC in Corpus Christi, TX for almost seven years. The church is celebrating its 150th anniversary this year. As you can imagine, there is a lot of history, tradition and pride here.

The church’s story mirrors that of many others. There are countless memories of a packed sanctuary and many well-attended events. People involved themselves in different ways in the church. Its location was a perfect fit for growth.

Then things changed. The neighborhood changed.

Of course, people passed. Others moved. Some left for different reasons.

One Sunday evening, a group of us discussed some of this. We were talking about the importance of nurturing our faith. We spoke of worship, prayer, study, fellowship and mission. Towards the end of our time, one of our saints made an observation.

Corpus Christi is getting a new harbor bridge. When construction is complete, it will be the longest cable bridge in the country. Not only does the new bridge impact our community, it begins right at our church. What does ministry look like for a church at the foot of the Harbor Bridge? We hope to find out.

Early construction made traveling around our church a headache. But that one night, it offered us a sound reminder. What if, our saint led us to wonder, as we see the foundations of the new bridge right at our doorsteps, we are to reflect? Traffic annoyances aside, this was our reminder. Christ is our foundation, but sometimes we build on other things.

It’s easy,  to make our tradition and pride more important than they should be. Like the hymn says “all other ground is sinking sand.” I was glad because this was coming from a saint who had been around for a while. People think I’m young and am eager to throw tradition away. I’m not. But I’m also not willing to let it get in the way of discipleship.

In Revelation 4, John sees a vision of a throne in heaven where God sits. Twenty-four elders sit around it. As they watch the worship scene unfold, they join in. To be sure, “they fall before the one” on the throne. They don’t sit in silence.

Before they sing their praises, they do something important. John says “they cast their crowns before the throne.”

We see the elders representing God’s church. Casting their crowns is their way of submitting to God’s authority. It’s as if to say, “Everything I have is from you. But everything I have fails to compare to you.” When you understand your crowns that way, it’s easier to thrown them down before God’s throne.

It’s that worship and faith that recognize Christ as our foundation. Discipleship and worship require us to lay our crowns down as well. If we don’t, we’ll be too top heavy to worship. To see Christ as our foundation. While everything around us changes, our Lord does not. And so we worship the One who is faithful forever. May Christ be our one foundation.

Stay blessed…john

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John Fletcher

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