Over vacation we toured the Gateway Arch in St Louis. It was as I remembered from my childhood. We rode up in white eggs, styled straight from the 60’s. They are tight for our family of six (a large family forces out claustrophobia!). And the view from the top was spectacular — looking out over the expanse that was to be conquered.
Back on the ground we watched the documentary on the Arch’s construction. The sides were built simultaneously, each base had less than 1/64 of an inch room for error. As the workers smoked and scaled heights without harnesses, it was easy to imagine the sides would not line up. But as the final triangle was brought into place, though the Arch was now over 600 feet above the ground, the sides varied less that 3/8 of an inch. What seemed impossible was a nearly perfect union.
Another video, with cartoon flowers and splashes of color, documented the society of the 60s. Beyond fashions it was a tumultuous time. The Civil Rights movement. Women’s liberation. Vietnam beginning. But during this time of division so many amazing things were happening. The Arch was raised, the interstate highway system connected the country, and the Apollo project took humanity to the moon. In all the division, these huge, even unbelievable, tasks were uniting the country.
Our current time – rocked by division – has been compared to the 60s. What will unite us today? Today’s innovations seem to only increase the division (Facebook!). Humanity hasn’t been to the moon in my lifetime. Let’s be honest, can anyone – liberal or conservative – fathom the government doing anything so constructive? If the two sides started a gateway project, much less than connect, it would go in opposite directions. –\ /–
So, if there is no gateway forward from the top, could the gateway spring up from the ground? What if the church forgot about wrangling rulers (pretending to be a PAC) and simply began to walk into the promised land? What if, rather than handing out tickets to be stamped after death, our community created lasting fellowship now?
As the church, called and empowered by God, we can let go of the old Arch’s manifest destiny. We are the gateway into new territory. A new kingdom. The promised land not of exclusion, but inclusion. All who enter through these gates are transformed by the way of love. Not for tomorrow alone, but today we embrace our neighbor. That all may be saved.
Acts4:32-4 All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had. With great power the apostles continued to testify to the resurrection of the Lord Jesus. And God’s grace was so powerfully at work in them all that there were no needy persons among them.