Sudsing Up The Black Cab (Reading Time: 2 mins)

Retro car wash poster

I was on the way back from a lunch appointment today and I took the wrong turn. I needed to fill up with some gas before getting back to the office for the afternoon. I was one street shy of where I needed to be; probably just not paying much attention.

And there it was.

The back doors of the funeral home, I guess their loading dock of sorts (ughh), was wide open. The characteristic black hearse had been pulled out a few feet into the backlot, sitting there all sudsy as it underwent a cleaning. I have never seen this in action before, but it makes sense. Sooner or later you need to wash the thing.

That made me think about gathered worship.

What if we are spending so much time and energy on the outside, the “cleaning” issue of our worship gatherings that we neglect to focus our attention and efforts at the reality right in front of our eyes?

Now, I don’t mean this in the same sense that Jesus did when He went after the teachers of the Law because they were like pretty, well-kept tombs: nicely presented on the surface, but full of, well…death. That’s a heart judgment that I will stay as far away from as possible with regard to our worship gatherings. He was clearly capable of nailing this inward reality every single time. I am not.

Instead, I have to think to myself, “Wayne, are you counting on any of the outside stuff to bring life itself.”

Because let’s be honest. Anything we do to the exterior of the hearse is never, ever going to bring to life what’s going on inside. That alone is a spiritual reality. It’s an issue far beyond the reach of how hard we scrub, how deeply we vacuum, or to what level we actually detail anything in our services.

Some would argue that it’s the way in which we cleaned, the detergent we used, or the approach we took to getting at that hard-to-reach spot on the top—that we just didn’t have that right yet. If we just did it “this” way, then the guy in the casket would sit straight up and walk out under his own power.

They’re wrong.

Sure, in some senses having the black cab look good is a helpful thing. Probably even an honoring thing. But…

Resurrection. Life. Growth. Breath.

This is what we need. This is what our world longs for. And these things of life are purely; one might say utterly, the work of the Spirit in and through us.

Thanks be to God that His intention for and commitment to us, is exactly this. For:

“…if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God…” (2 Cor. 5:17-18a)

Father, bring me to life; true life in You. And free me from the false assumption that it could come from anywhere else. Ever.


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