An Outpost of Eternity

I desperately want to end the “small church” / “big church”… “growing” church/ “NOT growing” church… debate. I won’t. I will never get away from it and no matter how long I pastor, it will always be in my mind.

But I want MORE. Not more “numbers.” I want more realization in my heart… and in the hearts of those I meet with for worship.

Frederica Mathewes-Green is one of the most refreshing voices in Christianity. She is an incredible thinker and one who causes me to hunger after God more and more when I read her writings or listen to her podcasts.

She is Eastern Orthodox. To say she isn’t concerned with “numbers” is a vast understatement. But what she is swept away by is the thought of worshiping God.

This is how she describes her little parish in Baltimore, MD, on a Sunday morning:

In a few hours heaven will strike earth like lightning on this spot. The worshipers in this little building will be swept into a divine worship that proceeds eternally, grand with seraphim and incense and God enthroned, ‘high and lifted up. The house was full of His glory’ (Isaiah 6:1). The foundations of that temple shake with the voice of the angels calling ‘Holy’ to each other, and we will be there, lifting fallible voices in the refrain, an outpost of eternity. If this is true, it is the most astonishing thing that will happen in our city today.
When I come to church, to our corner of the world, on a Sunday morning, this is exactly what I want each of us to realize.
We live under the delusion that God only “moves” in some large service, or loud, passionate music. Mathewes-Green points us to something far more significant.
Friends, when we come to church, we come to the place where heaven will strike earth when we WORSHIP. The curtains of heaven will be moved back and we will join in the multitudes singing, “HOLY!”
WE, every church worshiping the risen Savior, REGARDLESS of “size,” serve as outposts of eternity. And in worship, we have that opportunity for heaven to strike earth.
Let us worship.

2 thoughts on “An Outpost of Eternity

  1. I am quite familiar with Frederica. I was briefly acquainted with her when I lived in Maryland. My mother and father in law attended a very large church in their hometown before moving here to live closer to their son, my husband. The church they now attend is tiny in comparison. My mother in law has been quite unhappy there because it seems that this church doesn’t have a huge choir (none at all), a huge pipe organ, hundreds on staff, a giant gymnasium, and more groups than you can shake a stick at. Of course it has been hard for her, especially now that my father in law has died, to move away from her friends at her old church. However, she seems to be inappropriately impressed with the former church buildings and all that comes from being in an affluent church. I wonder why she feels this way. God surely doesn’t care about such outward appearances, so why should she? Her corner has suddenly shrunk and as a mature Christian, it seems to me that she should know this. I do worry that she will never be spiritually happy here.

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