The Church Plaque

Aug 19, 2016

Many years ago, a pastor noticed a little boy staring up at a large plaque that hung in the foyer of the church.
The plaque was covered with names, and small American flags were mounted on each side.
The little boy had been staring at the plaque for some time, and so the pastor walked up, stood beside him and said softly, “Good morning, Alex.”
Good morning, Pastor,” replied the young boy, still focused on the plaque.
“Pastor Murphy, what is this?” Alex asked.
“Well, son,” the pastor explained, now kneeling next to the boy, “it’s a memorial to all the men and women who have died in the service.”
The two continued to share the quiet moment together when, after a few thoughtful moments, the little boy finally spoke again, “Which one? The 9 o’clock, or the 10:30 service?”
Both Pastor Murphy and little Alex were both speaking the truth to one another as they conversed that morning in the church foyer—unfortunately, they didn’t UNDERSTAND each other. Neither understood what the other one meant.
It is so easy to do. We think of the last few verses of the gospel of John. In John 21, a conversation takes place about what will happen to the disciples next, and, referring to John, Peter asks, “Lord, and what shall this man do?” In verse 22 we read, “Jesus saith unto him, ‘If I will that he tarry till I come, what is that to thee? Follow thou me.’”
And then in the next verse, verse 23, we read, “Then went this saying abroad among the brethren, that that disciple should not die. Yet Jesus said not unto him, He shall not die.”
Here these men, those closest to Jesus, who followed him and lived with him and were personally taught by him, and were there through his crucifixion and now with him following his resurrection, STILL misunderstood him.
So what do we do with this information? Throw up our hands and say, “Well, who can know anything for sure? If these disciples closest to Jesus misunderstood him, what hope do I have to understand what he taught—to understand truth?”
I think the answer there is twofold. One, we acknowledge our very real, human limitations—we walk in humility, knowing how truly easily we can get things wrong. But, in the meantime, we also do like the Bereans we read of in the book of Acts. You’ll recall the Bereans were praised in Acts 17:11, because, “they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.”
And so, with humility, we continue to search the scriptures, that as we read in 2 Peter 3:18, we might, “grow in grace, and in the knowledge of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ. To him be glory both now and forever. Amen.”

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