There was a warehouse. It was the warehouse of all warehouses. From the front it looked just like any other warehouse. But once inside the door – only then was it the warehouse of all warehouses. This warehouse stretched further than the eye could see. No lighting could do the cavernous interior true justice. As far as the eye could see were cartons and crates, containers and casks, crazy stacks of this and mad piles of that. No system would ever truly catalogue the inventory. No process would ever make sense of the ever-increasing stock. For the deliveries were constant. The deliveries were eclectic. The stock was functional and esoteric. Useful and useless. Used and never ever to be used. But still it came. Still it was accepted. Still it was tucked away in darker and darker recesses. Just in case. No just in time system would ever be welcome here. Just in case was the only operating system that would ever be tolerated.
As we walked through the confusion of this and the complexity of that, I became aware of “blackness”. Stacks of “stuff” that reflected no light. Stuff that no light would penetrate.
“This place needs a good clear-out.” I remarked. And he nodded.
On and on we walked. There was so much stuff I could not recall ordering. So many piles I could not remember being delivered. And so many areas I could not even see. The lights were not enough. The space was too huge. The labelled and dusty piles too many. And these stacks of “darkness” … I found myself wondering “Why?” as we passed. What purpose did this “darkness” serve?
“You find what you follow, you find what you look for, Paul. You know this darkness as “sin”. You look for sin in everything, and each time you find it, you add another stack within. And the darkness increases. You find sin and it adds to your inventory.
See this place? See how much there is? See how cavernous and full? See how unused and dysfunctional this place? Some call this hell. Others call this unchurched. Some even claim to cast out this inventory and make you whole. I see this place as the place you call “saved”. A place you lift in praise. A place you bring to me in worship. A place you invite me to “housekeep” for you. To forgive you your “sins”. To pour a gallon or more of my blood around the place to make it sparkly clean.
Look around Paul. Look at the deliveries accepted even as we speak. Look at the stacks of darkness. It is your most common delivery. And each is receipted and counted. Is it any wonder you need a weekly spiritual “wash and dry”? Is it any wonder you call each other “I am but a sinner saved”? Is it any surprise my sacrifice is burden and my cross so heavy? You keep loading yourself with all this crap! You keep chasing “sin”. You say “my cross is LIGHT” and then keep looking for sin. You fill yourself with darkness and blame it on me.
Want to see what I really meant?”
And as I nodded I saw a hose. A hose of light . I don’t know who was holding it, nor do I know to what it was connected. But I saw this hose flood my warehouse with light. The darkness just disappeared. The dust was no more. The stacks shone. The piles sizzled. The inventory was good. And yet the walls shrank. It seems I had no use for a warehouse of all warehouses. I had no need to fill and keep filling with “stuff”. For now I could see without seeing. I knew without knowing. I loved without having to. And each delivery became light. And light took no space. Light just “was” – just “is”. Even the walls and floor and roof were all just light. I could not tell you where my warehouse began or ended. And I did not care to find out. That was just more “stuff” that would be darkness.
“My cross is “light” just as you now see. My light is love without any need at all for sin. “Go and sin no more” was not a command. It was a statement. There is no “saving”, there is no need for me to “housekeep” each week. I do not want your darkness as “worship and praise”. And you should really think about not chasing “sin” all the time. Sin is no more. Love is light and light is my cross.
You want blood? Go to the butchers. You want sacrifice? That is your judgement-call not mine. What is sacrifice when all is light? What is sin when all is light? What is worship when we are all light together? You found “Love is always the answer now what’s the question?” And yet you still chased “sin”. Why?”
And as I listened I looked around and saw a corner already dark. Yet – without a thought – as I looked with love it became no more. “Sin no more” is not a command. It is a statement we have made an aspiration. An aspiration we will never achieve in our lifetime. We call it sin. We call ourselves sinners. And the unchurched, the unsaved, the “lost world” so often get it. They do not believe in sin so they do not chase sin. They do not look for sin so they do not accumulate darkness.
“Whoah! Paul – slow down. What is the difference between those who believe in me and those who don’t? The difference between those who have been saved and those who haven’t?”
And as I looked around I saw others – for my walls were not walls – my walls were light. And there many who were light. Many had no darkness. And I saw them connect. Saw them as one. There was no “walking on water”. There was no “fear” of sin or darkness. There was no calling to God – they entered no buildings – they shut no doors – they had nothing that was not possible – they were amazing!
For they sought laughter and laughed, they listened and their listening became light, they talked and their words were light. And there were some who were of darkness. Who gathered together. Who shut themselves off. Their words were of anger and fear. Their speech was of right and wrong. Their hearts were not light. Nor could I see through them. Their eyes were fixed and their sight was dim.
It was not “church”– for these of the dark were both “saved and unsaved” – “churched and unchurched” – just as were those of the light. There was no “church” as I knew it. There was just light or dark. Labels did not work in this place. Sin did not work in this place. Nothing I had been taught worked in this place. Only love.
“Now tell me who has been saved and who has not, Paul.”