There is an interesting story I was told concerning a small-town church and its new preacher. I do not know whether or not the story is true or just a parable, but consider its lesson. The author of this story is unknown. A new preacher came to town and spent the first few long days calling on the inactive membership, one by one, family by family, begging them to come to his first service. Sadly, however, all his effort was in vain. None of them showed up on Sunday morning.
On Monday morning, he placed a prominent notice in the local newspaper. The notice proclaimed that the church was dead and, because of that, it was his duty to give it a decent burial. The funeral was announced to be held the following Sunday afternoon.
Morbidly curious, of course, the whole town turned out. Inside the church for everyone to clearly see as they entered the sanctuary, there was a large coffin, prominently placed high in front of the pulpit, smothered in flowers. Everyone was seated, and anticipation was in the air. The service began. The preacher said an opening prayer, led in a quiet hymn, then solemnly read the church's obituary and delivered a touching and eloquent eulogy. He then invited the congregation to step forward and pay their final respects to the dearly beloved who had departed.
Everyone got up from their seats and formed a line, which slowly filed by the casket. Each mourner peeped inside -- and then turned away in shock, with a guilty, sheepish look, some in tears. Their faces became ashen. Inside the coffin, tilted at the correct angle, was a large mirror. Everyone saw himself!
Dear friends, this is a dramatic example of what the church is...people who have made profession of faithful obedience to the One who died on their behalf—Jesus. As such, they are the body of Christ. Have you made this profession? If so, give heed to the Lord's exhortation, “Not forsaking the assembling of yourselves together, as the manner of some is; but exhorting one another: and so much the more, as you see the day approaching.” – Hebrews 10:25 What better way to honor Jesus the Christ than to worship in spirit and in truth regularly? (John 4:24)