godsnowhere?

Recently, more than a few people have inquired about the title of this modest blog. If the about page is a little too vague for you, here’s the longer version of the story…

When I was a teenager, I used to travel to a different church every week with my dad; a Lutheran bishop in Northeast Iowa who was on the road about 40-45 Sundays a year. At one particular worship service, a local pastor offered an illustration that went something like this:

A small-town church sanctuary that was vandalized late on a Saturday night. The congregation members showed up the next day, appalled to discover that the sanctuary had been ravaged in the night. The baptismal font was thrown across the room and landed on the organ, the pulpit and lectern were reduced to splintered pieces of wood, and the altar had been covered in graffiti.

The spray paint that desecrated the altar consisted of one repeated phrase:

GODSNOWHERE

The members of the congregation were crushed. “We can’t have worship in a place that has ‘God’s Nowhere’ written on the altar,” one of the elders claimed. Others agreed. They decided to head home. As the would-be parishoners filed out of the worship space, a 6 year old child came in and saw the words on the altar. She began to slowly sound out the letters that made up the word.

“God’s Now Here” is how it came out.

The adults of the congregation were both embarrassed and enlightened. They were so focused on the destruction that they didn’t see that the jumbled letters could make more than one phrase…a hopeful phrase. Even though the intent of the vandals was to make a claim that God was nowhere to be found, God was able to redeem that sinful act through the innocent discovery of a small child. The congregation members decided that worship would take place in that very place in that very moment.

The letters <godsnowhere> remind me of God’s ability to redeem the messes in our lives. It also illustrates that the gospel can be proclaimed by anyone; even the most unlikely person. And finally, it keeps me grounded during the times that, like the adults in the story, I become transfixed on all the crappy things in my life.

I hope that helps…

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