The first … it’s a picture Dan Hendrickson texted me last Sunday with the text…‟full parking lot.” I had noticed Dan coming in, shall we say, “just as church started” and so I’m guessing that he dropped his family off at the front door… parked maybe on the street and then took this picture on the way in.
When I texted the picture to Eric Peterson he said, “Perhaps the best single image that says ‘challenge of vitality.’ Too bad it was a gloomy day!” Eric’s right, and although I know he’s thinking about a photo opportunity…. I’m thinking there is nothing gloomy about any day our parking lot is full on a Sunday morning.
This brings to mind something. If you arrive at church on Sunday morning at a time when you find yourself in a similar condition as Dan…just sayin’ it could happen….We want to let you know that you can use the parking just to the east of our lot. The backstory is we used to own the land that those building are on, and the owner is gracious about sharing the parking on a Sunday morning. You can also park on the street, but please be careful.
The second thing is something I heard this week that caught me as both funny and hopeful. The company that leases space for the cell phone tower in our backyard worked with us to put a cross on top of the cell phone tower to sort of fit in. (We were in the Star Tribune’s story on this trend a few months ago; you can see the cross in the header on this webpage.) Anyway I heard that they want to increase the use of the tower and so they are offering to put up a “bigger cross.” They have offered to do this because they’ll need a bigger cross to cover up the extra antennas.
I’ve been wondering…just for fun…what might it mean for a church to need a “bigger cross.” I posed the question on Facebook and received some interesting comments…My favorites are…The more you see the cross, the better the reception…The one of Jesus asking…. Can you see me now? Another two that are similar… We now have a bigger cross to bear. And… We’re going to need a bigger Jesus.
When I asked my friend Steve in Nashville what he thought, his response was helpful in taking this beyond a little bit a fun and into what God may be telling us. “That ’s a great metaphor for the Christian life. When the life of the church is shaped by the cross, it is more open, or receptive, to the grace, which is the power of the Holy Spirit, to equip the people to join Christ in God’s mission in the world.”
A full parking lot on more Sundays and a bigger cross on the cell tower above us are both things to celebrate and challenges of vitality. We celebrate the vitality they both represent. And we are asked to face the challenge of allowing the cross to play a larger part in shaping our lives.... even if it means that it may be hard to find a parking space on Sunday morning.
Keep the Faith,