By: Pastor Jarren Rogers
An alien spaceship crashes into the grass behind C1NAZ. A small, green humanoid with an elongated head stumbles out of his cracked and smoking UFO. He turns his head from side-to-side, attempting to gather his surroundings.
His eyes peer over a perplexing barrier, made up of interlocking wires of a metallic alloy. Inside the barrier appears to be a massive structure made up of plastic and metal. On the ground are little bits of a spongey material. Attached to the metal barrier is a square sign. He pulls out his intergalactic linguistic translation device and points it at the unfamiliar language. The device speaks a translation of the words in his native alien language: Please Keeps Pets Off of Playground.
Very interesting, the alien thinks. A patch of ground that is segregated exclusively for playing.
The alien moves on, walking towards the large building before him. From inside, he can hear singing, voices, talking.
It’s Sunday morning.
The alien enters into our church, unseen, and slips into the back row. He pulls out his intergalactic linguistic translation device and pulls out his special alien headphones. Everything said or sung during the entirety of the service runs through the device, is translated into alien tongue, and dictated into the alien’s ears.
He’s never heard of this God or this Jesus. Never known anything about the Bible or Church. My question is this: what would the alien believe is the purpose of our religion?
It’s evident to him that we believe in some kind of power. A hidden and invisible source called the Spirit that fills Christians up. He also hears words like joy and peace. He understands that we hold this man named Jesus in pretty high regard. He had some good things to say and did something pretty big that we are all thankful for, something that resulted in His death.
But what does all of this lead to? thinks the alien. What’s the point?
My worry is that that our alien friend may think that Christianity, Church, Jesus, God, the Spirit–all of it–is simply intended to make us happy people, to make us feel better. After all, that’s why we speak of peace and joy and contentment. That’s the end goal–to be content human beings. That is why the Spirit gives us His power, so that we can be happy no matter what comes our way. That is why we share our struggles and encourage each other. All of it–everything we do–is so that our congregation can be happy and satisfied until they die.
Or maybe not…
Sometimes, the things we say, the things we believe, the emphasis we place–they all point to this conclusion: God wants to make us happy.
But our visitor from space has it all wrong. Look at Jesus’s final words to the apostles before He ascended into heaven:
“But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1:8).
The power that the alien hears about is not for our happiness, for us to keep for ourselves. Instead, every gift we are given from God–love, joy, peace, contentment, encouragement–is to enable us to complete His mission and be a witness to the loving and grace-filled God we serve.
We mustn’t allow our words and our worship to push us towards the wrong end. We do not work towards happiness. We work towards obedience. We do not strive for contentment. We strive for holiness.
This Christmas, may we be reminded of our mission and the reason we are given the power of the Spirit–to tell the world of who this baby is: the Savior of all!
Read more of this Advent Devotional and other Daily Pursuits at www.dailypursuits.blog