Decks and Porches

Good Morning Brothers and Sisters…

It was about 105 degrees, no wind, no clouds, and somehow the bugs were still biting. I was driving wooden stakes and tying string lines around them to set the perimeter of my wrap around porch. I have a big porch, not to brag, but just to make a statement of truth, it’s big. I can remember thinking to myself when the sweat was rolling down my back, getting into my eyes, the feeling of lightheadedness every time I stood up, “Why?”.  “Why will a man work so hard to sit on his butt later?”  Years have gone by from that moment and I still ask myself that question, because the reality of decks and porches is that they can be a lot of work for no other reason that to relax…to rest a bit…to socialize. I am not saying this is a bad thing, I am only saying that decks and porches may protect the home in some cases, but their main function is to accessorize the home. Homes look better to the human eye with decks and porches.  But we need to admit, that true living takes place inside the home, not on the accessory of the home.

For a Christian, our faith is where we live (at least it should be). Our relationship with Jesus, through the work of the Spirit, is our home. Jesus is the bread of life, the Spirit is the living water, we find shelter under the wings of the Almighty; the Triune nature of God is our dwelling place and home. He feeds us and provides rest, He instructs us and sends us.  All of this takes place in our faith, which acts as our home. Our home is the Church. The Church is a weird thing to define for Christians because we see a duality in the word. It is ‘us’, but it is also the ‘place’ we go on Sunday. It is both an organic thing and an organizational thing. I think the best example of ‘Church’ for us is ‘Family’.  I am ‘family’ but I am also part of a larger group called ‘family’.  My name makes me an organic member of the family, however, there is an organization of my family that includes grandfather’s, mothers, fathers, crazy cousins, etc-etc.  The ‘Church’ is just like this. It is our home, where God cares for us, and where our faith resides.

All to often, we decide to accessorize our home with decks and porches. This is theology. It looks good to our eye, requires effort and work, provides a place to socialize, and seems good and secure. Some of our homes are surrounded by porches and feature a deck on the backside with a hot tub. Some of our homes feature covered decks which frame in a particular view. Some of our homes offer functional porches and decks which shelter firewood or provide a space for storage. Some of our homes have hardly any porch or deck at all, a few steps covered by an awning and that’s it. Listen…don’t get me wrong, I love theology. I love decks and porches. I think they express the tradition or the personality of the home they adorn. I think you can learn a lot about somebody when you see their theology, I mean their deck and porch. But here is the thing…we can’t live there. Theologies are social hours mixed with a bit of grilled meat. It seems like sustenance until the wind picks up, the thunder booms, the lightening flashes, and the rain falls in sheets. That’s when we move inside where real shelter can be found.

God has a way of crippling our decks and porches through the tests and trials of life. He has a way of destroying any theology we begin to take comfort in. Our God is a jealous God, He is our Father and knows best what we need, we need Him.  Theology is not evil or wrong, but it’s an accessory, not God.  We may think our homes look better with decks and porches, draped with our theology of choice, but God is the heart of the home, the head of the Church, and that is where we will find ‘true’ rest. I think that our ‘decks and porches’ are part of God’s ‘tests and trials’…meaning; when I drive by a home that has a beautiful deck and porch, I don’t run it down and say things like, “That isn’t a real porch, in fact, the home is probably fake too.”…or…”They obviously don’t know what they are doing, look how that roof line runs back into the main slope.”  I certainly see styles that our not my favorite type, however, they are still real decks and porches. I believe God is testing us (individually) to see if we will try to stay on the porch when the storm comes. I believe God is testing us (corporately) to see if we will stop placing so much importance on decks and porches.

I believe the testing has already begun…

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