Avoiding the Void
Jesus said, “When an evil sprit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so the person is worse off than before.” – Luke 11:24-26 (NLT)
My church is in the process of renovating a building that has sat abandoned for over six years. But since we’ve only cleaned around the building, but not yet occupied the building, we’re finding that it doesn’t take long for dumpers and vagrants to trash the space again and again, despite our valiant efforts to keep the place looking decent.
We now know it’s not just the clean-up that restores a property. It’s also the occupancy.
According to Aristotle, nature abhors a vacuum. If this is true, then even clean spaces with no content invite anything and everything to fill them.
It is quite possible to build community out of chaos. The work of creation is the work of reimagining and reordering elements that are already present and available. But it’s quite difficult, if not impossible, to build community from a void.
Perhaps this is the reason why voters want to know what candidates are for, not just what they’re against.
And perhaps this is the reason why our greatest contribution to society is not our critique of others, but our ownership of our authentic selves.
Jesus didn’t want clean-but-empty people looking to fill themselves with some outward perception of God’s Kin-dom. So Jesus infused our faith with this revelation: ‘The Kin-dom of God is within you.”
Lord make us clean, then give us content for Abundant Life. Amen.
Kenneth L. Samuel is Pastor of Victory for the World Church, Stone Mountain, Georgia.