I saw several ghosts the other night at church. Actually, I dreamed I saw them. I dreamed I was in the attic of First Christian Church and suddenly ghosts started coming out of the walls everywhere. They weren’t frightening, though. It was as though they were strangely happy. They belonged there.
Now, ghosts are not real. God does not allow our souls to wander after death. This dream, though, illustrated a point; church is a place in which we should feel at home just like those ghosts did. Church should be a haven for those seeking the love of God. It’s not the building that is the haven; the church is people, God’s people, showing the honest, genuine love of God.
My dream was comforting to me in this manner; that is until one particular ghost came out of the woodwork wearing a choir robe and looking like Whoopi Goldberg; then it just got weird.
Philippians 2:15 says that Christians are supposed to shine like stars in a spiritually crooked universe. In order to do so the church must nurture a family atmosphere. God means for us to be a spiritual family of brothers and sisters united together by our faith in Jesus.
Jesus echoed these sentiments in John 13:34 where he says “…love each other. Just as I have loved you, you should love each other.” (NIV). Jesus wants Christians to love each other just as He loved us. How much did He love us? He loved us so much He was willing to die for us. That’s the depth of love we should have for our brothers and sisters.
Jesus goes on in verse 35 to point out that our love for each other will be evidence of our faith. The way we treat each other is a testament to the honesty and depth of our faith in God. We cannot love God and not love our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ.
Too many times in church we forget this. Too many times we run each other down with our words, attack each other over church policy, undermine each other’s character out of jealousy and envy, or simply ignore one another because we are too focused on our own little worlds.
What would our churches look like if we took Jesus’ command seriously? Really, what kind of impact could the church have if we just treated each other with the same love Jesus had for us?
The church needs to be a place in which everyone finds acceptance, friendship, accountability and help in time of need.
Can people see that you are Jesus’ disciples simply by the way you are treating your fellow brothers and sisters in Christ?
Robert Morton is pastor of First Christian Church in Middlesboro.