Sunday, August 5, 2012

31 Days Captured: Day 5

Today was Nick's last day of preaching (for now), so what better thing to photograph than the building where the church met? (Actually, I thought about taking a picture of Nick while he was preaching, but I didn't want to look like the young kid playing on her cell phone during the service. I also took a photo of Nick in front of the building, but I promised I wouldn't upload that one.)

This is actually a Catholic building--complete with a confessional booth, Stations of the Cross, and Eucharist box--and Nick's church rents the space. It was interesting to think, as we waited for the service to start, how very different Catholicism is from Evangelical Christianity. So many people think they're basically the same, but even sitting in a Catholic building, I could almost feel the difference. Catholicism is so much about what you do, not what Jesus did for you. It's so focused on actions, on working your way to heaven.

I can't help but think of one of the scenes from my favorite show, Lost, when one character is visited by a priest in prison where he is waiting to be given a death sentence. He confesses his sin, that he accidentally killed someone, to the priest. The priest then tells him that he cannot be forgiven, that he doesn't have enough time to earn his forgiveness, and thus will go to hell. The look of absolute despair and terror on the man's face made me think how hopeless it is to believe that your only means of salvation lies within the realm of your control. To believe that you must earn your way to heaven through prayers and good deeds, and when you cannot, you suffer eternal condemnation, how absolutely hopeless that would be.

The truth is we can't do a single thing to make God smile on us, to earn a spot in heaven, to escape the flames of hell. Because what we need has already been done. Perfect sacrifice, perfect atonement, the only perfect "deed" was done by Jesus. And because of that, we can have full confidence that if we place our faith in him, on the day of our death, we'll be in heaven forever.

And that, my friends, is real hope.

For God so loved the world that he sent his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish, but have everlasting life. - John 3:16

Photograph captured with Samsung Galaxy S, edits via PicMonkey.

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