Over the years, I’ve preached in at least 30 different churches. Most have the traditional set-up with the pulpit or lectern in the front of the congregation. Often there is a cloth on the alter and pulpit with colors indicating the liturgical season like Advent, Christmas, Lent, Easter, or Pentecost. What a person sees and is the focus of the church member is often pleasing and even may be decorated with flowers, banners, or symbols of the season.
But when you stand in the lectern to deliver the message, it’s usually really messy. There are shelves with hymnals and Bibles, which makes sense. But it’s often littered with old bulletins, candy wrappers, pens/pencils, a random offering plate, used water glasses, candles, even seen the assorted toy or two.
Isn’t that really the church? And frankly our own lives? What people see and who we really are, are different. We present a good front, but we’re usually a bit messy behind the scenes. Even the best churches and the best people have a different front. Different from what others see.
Maybe it would be best if we realize everything is a bit cluttered from the other side.