We have a lot of brown doorknobs around our house. Our house was built in 1904, so to say that they are the original doorknobs could be true or could be an innocent but incorrect guess. They could be original from when they did renovations in 1919, or after the great flood of 1937. Either way, they are old.
If you asked anybody what they were made of, you might think they were brown. An adult would assume brass, or just some “metal” that is brown.
The statue of liberty is green. And by green I mean PANTONE 15-5519 Turquoise green. It would be interesting to conduct a survey of people on the street to see how many people think that it’s always been green, or how many people think that copper is green.
The bummer is, it’s been green for so long, I’m not sure that people can imagine it being copper.
Sometimes, in an unexpected place, I have seen pure, raw, unoxidized copper. Like when my grandma got out the vinegar and salt and cleaned her copper pots or when I re-did the plumbing and electrical in my house. Copper pipes freshly cut and copper wires freshly stripped all shine as bright as can be. If you told me that’s what the Statue of Liberty used to look like, I’d be stunned.
Really I’m not sure I can even imagine that in my head. A shiny copper statue of liberty. It would be blinding when the sun hit it!
But that’s what it is! That’s the truth of it. So just because we can’t see it, and just because we can’t even imagine it, doesn’t mean it’s not true. And it also means, that with a ton of work, it could be restored.
They restored some of Lady Liberty in 1986 when they celebrated her birthday. But they didn’t scrub off all of the green. That could only be done with a tremendous investment of time, labor, materials, and of course, fund raising. Or at least a lot of salt & vinegar.
But I’m not talking about the Statue of Liberty, or even copper, am I? I’m talking about the church. I’m talking about Christianity and the Gospel.
I talk to people a lot (it’s about 80% of my job except for the administrivia of preparing and reporting on the talking) and often times when I tell someone something from the Bible, pure and true, it is unbelievable – Even if they are a Christian.
For by grace you are saved through faith, and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God; it is not from works, so that no one can boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9 NET
I wonder if we have seen a turquoise Christian life for so long, if we have altered the meaning of “Love your enemies” or “saved by grace” or “Righteousness apart from our actions.” so much that we think something is supposed to be green instead of gleaming like the SON?
The thing is, if we are going to ever see the beauty of an untarnished, clean, true Church, it is going to take a lot of work, and it isn’t going to be pretty in the process.
And along the way, we will meet a lot of doubters.
I asked my wife what she thought those brown doorknobs were made of. She thought brass, just like me.
When I put them in salt and vinegar (Thanks Grandma!) they turned out to be something we didn’t expect. Even after we cleaned it, I can’t imagine why somebody would want something so sparkly and bright on our dark brown doors.
“Maybe they used it because they knew that it would tarnish and turn brown and not look so blingy?” my wife supposed.
The original builders of my house are long gone, and they may have expected the knobs to turn brown, but it is not the same for Christ’s church.
He is still around, and is still seeking for His Bride to shine like a blingy knob on a darkwood door.
You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.