Today I went to a Christian bookstore looking for stationery. I wasn’t looking for anything fancy or over the top. Just some nice, plain, Christian stationery. Of course, I couldn’t find anything alone those lines.
I approached an employee of this store and said, “Hi. I’m looking for some stationery that isn’t sappy and won’t emasculate me.” That poor employee. “Oh,” she said, “like for real notes you write by hand? I love getting notes like that, they’re just so sentimental.”
It shouldn’t be shocking that all of the stationery was 1) sappy, 2) emasculating, and 3) sentimental.
And it’s that third word, sentimental, that kills the Church. Churches that are sentimental – those that idolize a false past – will die, if they are not dead already.
A Christian life should look to the past. From our history we can learn from our mistakes and give thanks for God’s blessings. But the Church must always be leaning forward. The age to come, the Kingdom of God that Jesus embodied, has not yet been fully realized. It is this hope – the hope of God’s Kingdom in our midst – that we are looking forward for.
Perhaps this is most of all summed up in the resurrection. On that grand Easter morning, when Jesus burst the bonds of death, he didn’t go back to what he once was. He wasn’t sentimental about his body. He became a new creation, a type of creation the world had never seen. Jesus wasn’t sappy, emasculated, or sentimental about his death.
No, he leaned forward and became our hope.