He then brought me out through the north gate and led me around the outside to the outer gate facing east, and the water was trickling from the south side. (EZEK. 47:2)
Perhaps the most critical word from today’s text is the word “outside.” When our understanding of awakening is limited to what happens in a building our experience of awakening tends to be pretty “inside” oriented. The focus gets placed on getting people to the building.
But that’s not the story of Ezekiel 47, is it? There’s the source and the stream; the well and the water. It’s easy to get those confused, especially to think of the source (or well) as being located in a fixed place. Indeed, the Old Testament temple was the source or the well from which this living water flowed. As we noted earlier, Jesus and his followers are the new temple of God. He is the chief cornerstone and we are the “living stones are being built up as a spiritual house” (1 Peter 2:5 ESV). Now, admittedly, all this house language is tricky, because remember, it’s not about the building.
Awakening is not an inside phenomenon but an outside movement. Keep the big picture in mind. What began a valley filled with dry bones has now become the source of a flowing stream. In fact, the source, the Son of God, and the stream, the people of God, are one in the same. The miracle of awakening happens as we become part of the moving stream, which constantly bears its source of life everywhere it goes. That is what’s about to happen in this story.
But don’t forget. Awakening is an outside thing.
Lord Jesus, we confess we are stuck in our thinking that church is a place we go. Open our minds and hearts to your words when you said, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against” (Matt. 16:18 ESV). Show us what that church is and how you build it. Open our minds to understand not that we are the church, but that we are the “my church” you are building. Yes, Lord, we are your church—even our little band—outside, right where we are. For your name’s sake, amen.
What holds your band back from thinking of yourselves and acting together as “little” church? What might change if you saw yourselves like this?
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