Thursday, March 5, 2009

"Satanic" Graffiti on Church Doors: An Opening for the Gospel

On Tuesday night in Okolona, a suburb of Louisville, three churches were targeted with vitriolic vandalism including graffiti with "pentagrams", upside-down crosses, and "666" numbers sprayed on their doors and edifices. Volunteer crews had all the evidence of the vandalism cleaned up by noon at Okolona Christian Church. The lead minister of that church, Bill Geiger, said, "We're fearful for them and anyone they might target . . . Our desire is that they get caught and this doesn't happen to anybody else." He added, "We're going to pray for the people who did this."

I am glad he added that last part. We should be praying for these misguided people. Frankly, I don't think I would have removed the graffiti if I pastored there. One message that the vandals left in red spray paint read, "We're coming soon!" If I were the pastor, I would use black spray paint and write over the original vandalism, "We welcome you in the name of Jesus Christ. Our Sunday service starts at 10:00 am."

The symbols (and they got them wrong anyway, showing they were not true Satanists) that these vandals used have no power over us Christians. They should hold no offense. These people wanted a heated or scared response. Why give it to them. Our symbol, brothers and sisters, is worse than theirs. Ours is the brutal implement of torture, the cross. Let us embrace the persecution we receive and respond, not with a quick cover-up, but with the love of Jesus Christ. How will these vandals be saved, unless we reach them where they are, proclaiming a Gospel of power and glory, unfazed by their destructiveness. Paul says in Romans 10:13-15,
Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved. How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? And how can they preach unless they are sent? As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!"

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