It was a typical cold day in Connecticut, and then there is the weather!
The decision was made to visit a quaint little church facility in a quaint little town. North Stonington provided the scenery, snow on the ground, most of the leaves had changed colors and died, and then descended to the hardness of the nearby surface to be scattered about by the wintry winds.
I arrived early and started to take photographs before making entry into the church building. This mysterious photographer apparently caught someone’s attention, and I obliged by waving at him and approaching the small facility. He introduced himself as Bob (pastor?) and he made mention from the onset how beautiful the church building is in comparison to others in the region. I told him I was visiting from the deep South and kept quiet about having previously lived 20+ years in Mystic/Groton area.
I asked, “Why is there not a Cross on the steeple?” He responded, “That’s the way the steeple came, with no Cross.”
I then inquired, “What is that thing up there? Is it a cell antennae?”
“No! That’s a lightning rod.”
“I see!” was my response. Thinking internally… no Cross… but a lightning rod. I wonder if they preach the message of the lightning rod?
Another person greeted me, Richard Lowe, a somewhat familiar face of the past. We had grown up in the same neighborhood and I also knew his younger brother, Mike, of whom I had known while in Jr. High School and Sr. High School. We chatted for a few minutes and I asked about their Sunday School class. I sat in.
The Sunday School class was doing a study on the Gospel of John, chapter 9. For the most part, I listened to their talk, which made me believe that they were also into “churchianity” (the love and devotion for church business and the leaders thereof). The reasoning was based on the following statements:
“I’m glad to be here today to listen to Pastor Bob’s sermon.”
“I grew up in ‘church’… and I ‘accepted’ Christ (I noticed no mention of repentance).”
On the discussion of the Jews, the Pharisees (religious righteous of the time of Christ dwelling among us), the leader of the Sunday School class mentioned that they had a residential Jewish family called the “Abrams.” I recognized the name and knew who they were. A photograph in the hallway revealed one of the family members.
I had been led by the Spirit to understand the reason for “fellowship” and that is to stir up love and good works (see Hebrews 10:24-25). But that was not the case here. The small Sunday School class consisting mostly of senior citizens, appeared to be more concerned about the natural study of John 9 and not so much about the spiritual element. I recognized the pride and the religious spirit of the members, but held back my tongue.
And at the end of the study, I brought up the meaning of this story about the blind man, and it was not so much about the natural healing but rather what Jesus pointed out as a spiritual healing. The Pharisees had asked, “Are we blind also?” And the final verse (v. 41) sums it all up with Jesus’ answer. However, the religious righteous spirits in the room did not comprehend what was expressed.