It is always exciting at our church.
Seriously, I mean that. When I say that it is not a promotions ploy like, “You’ll love our exciting church!” but instead I mean it like, “There is always something oddball cooking at our church.” Take Wednesday night, for example. When we came in for small groups and children and youth ministries we found this written by the front door.
It is written in Sharpie, about head high to the left of the double doors. “Your God is Dead!” it proclaims. If you look carefully you will see, just to the right of the exclamation point, a phone number.
We are not that shocked by graffiti on our building because its happened many times, as well as vandalism. Two months ago someone shot out several windows and a glass door, so we’re familiar with this.
We decided, the next day, to not call the police. Its probably just kids. But I did post it on Facebook and several people made great comments about what to do.
The first thing I did was call the phone number. I was so hoping, so hoping it would lead to an opportunity to tell some poor soul who lives in despair and fear about the joy of following the very much alive Jesus Christ. But alas, it was not to be. The phone number belonged to a nice man and his wife, in his 60’s, who owned a small business in town. He assured me he had nothing to do with the graffiti. I told him that someone was playing a prank on him and us both and that whoever wrote his number there knew exactly whose number it was.
The second thing I did, was to add some editing marks to the work of graffiti. So, yesterday morning this is how I changed it:
I kicked the “Y” off and made it “Our” and then added “Alive” and then “Not.” I also, just for grins, added a scripture reference of 1 Corinthians 15:4. I also scrubbed off the phone number with Comet.
So that is what will greet you by our front door this Sunday.
This whole scene reminded me of an ancient piece of graffiti found in Rome near the Palatine Hill. It is carved into a plaster wall and probably dates to the 2nd or 3rd century A.D. It shows a man being crucified, but he has the head of a donkey and a man is bowing to it. The inscription below reads “Alexander worships his god.”
I wear it as a certain badge of honor that today, we are poked at the same way our spiritual fore bearers were nearly 2,000 years ago. I count it all joy that I had a red marker to at least, in part, respond, unlike poor Alexander so long ago. I don’t know how long we’ll keep that there before we clean it off. Maybe we’ll leave it for archaeologists to find in the future.