There’s a wee pre-school boy in our town with a very great love of diggers. Last year he would often stand next to his mother at the safety fence and watch as the big yellow digger demolished more and more of the former St Brigid’s in Feilding.
Day after day he viewed the spectacle with awe and, in time, he came to name the place as ‘the knocking down church’. Eventually a very sad day came when the digger disappeared—gone perhaps to delight some other little boy.
But our wee lad’s interest remained and now he continues to come and watch with his patient mother in tow. He has even coined a new name that reflects his ongoing child-like fascination. St Brigid’s-in-the-making is now for him ‘the building-up church’.
Nearly 2000 years ago, this idea of building up a church was also running through the mind of St Paul. Writing to the Christians in Ephesus, Paul tells them that they are all being spiritually ‘built-up’ to provide a place for God’s presence.
The same spiritual truth is at work in Christian lives today. As we answer the call of God, as we now gather around Christ in worship and discipleship and as we allow the Holy Spirit to mould us, something very special can start to happen to us as a community of faith.
New Zealand society can be very tough on its members. In all manner of strident and often more subtle and silent ways, attitudes, prejudices, individuals and groups can hammer away at us, knocking us down like the walls of an old church leaving us feeling disappointed, disillusioned, hurt and even embittered.
In such times we need a place that will provide the solace, reassurance, encouragement and re-direction for which we yearn. We require a place where Christ through our brothers and sisters in the faith can minister his love, forgiveness and healing in our lives. We all need a place where we can individually and collectively be built up into a growing, caring, positive and resilient community of people.
There is a place where such building up can occur. It was devised by God and we know it today as the church. God is asking each of us to look out for each other, to support each other in all the varied circumstances of our daily lives as well as in the elements of our faith.
When, as Christ’s body, we begin to faithfully build each other up, the stage can be set for miracles. The presence of God will be distinctly felt and acknowledged with awe—much the same awe as now sensed by a wee boy standing at a building-site fence.