“. . . on this rock foundation . . .”

“’What about you?’ he asked them. ‘Who do you say I am?’  Simon Peter answered, ‘You are the Messiah, the Son of the living God.’Good for you, Simon son of John!’ answered Jesus. ‘For this truth did not come to you from any human being, but it was given to you directly by my Father in heaven.  And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it.  I will give you the keys of the Kingdom of heaven; what you prohibit on earth will be prohibited in heaven, and what you permit on earth will be permitted in heaven.'” (Matthew 16:15-19)


It’s actually a very small, seemingly insignificant island with a tiny lighthouse perched atop it.  When our youth group took a boat tour of Gloucester Harbor during their day off on the mission trip to Boston a couple of weeks ago (their whale watch boat trip was cancelled due to high seas) they passed by this inner harbor light known as Ten Pound Island Light.  For years this little light helped guide the fishing boats that were part of the largest commercial fishing fleet on the east coast into the inner harbor to unload their catches and prepare for their next voyages.  As time passed and the light atop the tower began to deteriorate, the navigation light was removed from the tower and placed on a pole on the island, leaving the once very important lighthouse pretty much irrelevant to the busy fishing boats.  The lighthouse fell into disrepair for many years until it was finally restored, and the navigational light returned to the top of its tower.  Now the little light is once more an important guide for the fishing fleet.


My thoughts drifted back a few weeks to this little lighthouse because a word has kept popping up in my brain for the last several weeks, during the annual conference meeting of our church, and again today as I began to wonder.  The word is irrelevant and it pops into my brain when I think of the church because it’s the word I’ve heard and read as a description of the church by many today.  In some ways irrelevant sounds even worse than bad as a description of the church.  Irrelevant means the church is not even worth the time of day.  Does this mean the church’s light has been extinguished and it sits on the rock in a state of perpetual deterioration and eventual demise?  Maybe – maybe not.  Maybe its light can be restored like the light on Ten Pound Island.

I’ve devoted the major part of my life to serving God through the ministry of the church.  I have no desire to save an institution that is deemed irrelevant because it fails to proclaim and live out the compassion, peace, hope, and justice of Jesus.  However, I have every desire to help revitalize an organization that hears the Good News of Jesus, and lives it out so God’s Light of Hope can work through it and shine as a beacon for others.  Every time I plan a worship service, a sermon, a bible study, a mission outreach, etc. I ask my self, “So what?”  “So what does this do to speak to the needs of our community near and far?  How does this impact those who need to hear and feel hope, compassion, help, and justice?’  In other words, “Is this relevant?  Are we relevant and truly engaged – or just hanging around?” I pray that God daily will help me strive for faithfulness, for relevance.  How about you?

Blessings and Peace,



Cross Lanes United Methodist Church

Cross Lanes, West Virginia


Help save lives! For more information on my book, “A Relentless Hope: Surviving the Storm of Teen Depression,” visit

My new book, “Wednesday Wonderings: Spiritual Journaling Through a Lens” is available at and



Check out my video, “Teens Surviving the Storm”

~ by revgenelson on June 25, 2014.

One Response to “Church”

  1. I am ready!

    Church | Teen Depression: Hope & Healing

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: