Pay no attention to the man behind the curtain… (The Wizard of Oz)
You know what was behind the veil (curtain) in the Temple in Jesus’ day? Nothing! (Dr. Don Ragland)
In both cases, people were led to believe in a Grand Illusion perpetuated by the use of a curtain that represented (represents) what religiosity is—human effort to create the illusion that God is near. We live in a world full of it and in fact live in a culture steeped in it. And if you want to start a fight or get folks irrationally mad at you, just pull back the typical church veil…
Yet Jesus pictures a diametrically different veil—a living veil, a doorway into all life and truth, a new and living way into the very Heart of God…!
As Don so powerfully preached last week, EVERYTHING about true Christianity is Supernatural. To enter into God’s presence, we are literally translated through Jesus, the new and living way…! Prayer, reading the Word, worship, entering into God’s rest—in fact, all that is real and right and good IN Jesus is, in fact, IN Jesus!!! To be translated is to be moved by the power of God from the physical into the spiritual, from the common into the holy; from the natural into the supernatural. Christianity is one miracle after another, one mighty experience of grace built upon the last…!
Contrast that with the “curtain call” game-playing that masquerades for real faith in so many lives and in so many ways. I know it did in my own life for years. I busied myself with doing churchy stuff to cover the emptiness within me. But God forbid you or anyone else point out to me my emptiness! Don’t you dare suggest that my drinking or drugging might in some way betray my churchiness! I would shout at you, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain—to my flesh pretending to be God and trying to make you think I was Godly because I sang in the choir or helped in a Sunday School. I would become irrationally angry if a person were to suggest that my personal “holy of holies” was…empty. But empty we are unless and until Jesus translates us supernaturally through Himself into His Presence—into the heavenly Holy of Holies of the manifest presence of God. Behind This Veil there is no faking, no trickery, no religion—just the Almighty Glory of the Almighty God…!
So American Churchianity is often built outside a dead veil—but true Christianity is Life in and through the Living Veil—Christ Jesus! When He first translated me through Himself in the summer of 1984, everything changed—and the translating has continued almost daily and usually many-times daily ever since!
Our heart is to be a Church that is 100% supernatural in flow and function, and 0% religious. In other words, God has called First Church to be like His First Church—the House of the Living Veil 100% of the time. We’re not there yet but we are getting closer all the time. Our core values of Word, Worship, and Life Groups are all about translation-times with Jesus. God has put a holy dissatisfaction in us as a congregation for so much of the programing and showmanship that curtains and veils the hollowness of much of American Churchianity. Through Life Groups and Worship Services, the Lord has made it ever-more difficult to hide an empty-self or to play church…
I may be wrong, but it’s possible that the Lord may have even unleashed an angelic “Toto” or two within the congregation—angels who pull back the curtains to display the foolishness of our flesh attempting to be God—so that we can come clean, repent, and allow Jesus to take us—translate us—into the real Holy of Holies…!!!