by Ken Rolheiser
God’s house is still on fire after Easter

A woman was cooking something in the oven when it caught fire and filled the house with smoke. She called 9-1-1 and screamed, "Help, my house is on fire!" The crisis manager inquired, "How do we get to your house?" The woman said, "Da! Obviously, in your big red truck?"

As a child I remember the urgency of our neighbour’s house catching on fire during a nasty prairie blizzard at night. Action was immediate. The horses were hooked to sleigh and my father and brothers made a b-line for the blaze on top of the hill. Sadly, the senior Norwegian couple perished in the fire.

The Japanese have a parable about a man who lived on top of a mountain. One day he sees a huge tsunami coming from the sea. He notices all the people on the beach having a picnic. His shouting and waving were not noticed, so the good man set his beautiful house on fire.

“Let’s climb the mountain and help our neighbour put out the fire,” some said. Others were having so much fun and made excuses, “The mountain is too steep.” The ones who climbed the mountain were saved and the others were swept out to sea and vanished.

Our churches today are experiencing a faith crisis. Many people are having fun playing and are distracted by the world, and have stopped attending to their spirituality. It is time to climb the mountain! 

The New Jerusalem sits on a high hill and occasionally we hear messages from the mountain that say, “God is love”. But we are having so much fun, and when we are working, we’re too busy to see the arms waving and prophets shouting.

Sometimes God gives us a nudge, a reminder that he loves us and that he is still in charge. The story is told of a pastor who was working late one Saturday night and decided to call his wife before he headed home. It was 10:00 p.m.

She did not answer. He let it ring many times, thinking how odd it was that she didn’t answer. Finally, he gave up. He wrapped things up at his office and headed home. He asked his wife about the call and she said, strangely enough, that it had not rung at their house. 

On Monday the pastor received a call at the church office, on the phone he had used on Saturday night.. The man that he spoke with asked why he had called on Saturday night. The pastor couldn't figure out what the man was talking about. 

Then the man said, "It rang and rang, but I didn't answer." The pastor remembered the mishap and apologized for disturbing him, explaining that he'd intended to call his wife. 

The man said, "That's okay. Let me tell you my story. You see, I was planning to commit suicide on Saturday night, but before I did, I prayed, 'God if you're there, and you don't want me to do this, give me a sign now.' 

“At that point, my phone started to ring. I looked at the caller ID, and it said, 'Almighty God'. I was afraid to answer!" The church that the pastor attends is called Almighty God Tabernacle.

The Easter Jubilee of celebration continues. God is urgently inviting us to the renewal that continues to save us.

(565 words)