There is a lot of dust collecting in the Church and it got in while we were asleep!
In a dream 2 weeks ago I saw a small boy sleeping on his bed when his family found out their house was full of spiders. He picks up the rug he’s sleeping on and there is an ornamental grate underneath leading to a sewer. It’s filled with dust and dirt. He knows that’s where they are coming in and I’m wondering why he’s been sleeping on it!
I go through the house to find something to clean with. I realize that I am covered in dust and grime. I can’t find anything, not even a cleaning closet. I look further through darkened hallways and unused rooms. I then come upon a sanctuary with chairs stacked up and furniture scattered around and realize…this is a church! The room doesn’t seem to be used that much because the dust isn’t as bad in there. Though I am covered in fine dust, this sanctuary is relatively untouched from lack of use. I walk past a doorway where there’s a table with things on top of it. I see something move and see a small statuette of the Praying Hands and they’re moving – waving. But, they appear to be more of a gimmick than any article of worship. I continue to look for cleaning materials and when the care-taker finally comes in to give me something, I find the tools very crude and ineffective for the large job ahead. With that, the dream ends.
The beginning of the dream sets the context. God sees the church, first and foremost, as a FAMILY (the boy and his family). The Church is not an institution, but a living, breathing core of believers walking in covenant together. Unfortunately, this family has fallen asleep when they should be keeping watch. On top of that, because of the spiritual slumber, the House is now filled with dust and dirt and needs a good cleaning.
But, where did the dust come from? It came from the OUTSIDE. Research now shows that most dust (at least 60%) comes from pollen and air pollutants brought in from the outside. The reason there was dust in the house was because it was allowed in and not prevented. What does this mean for the Church? It means that sin, compromise, unsound doctrines and ungodly secular mindsets have been allowed in the Church. Not only that, but they have been INVITED. The grate in the dream was not just a plain old sewer cover, but a fancy ornamental grate. It represents how many churches today are marketing themselves as “grace-oriented” churches, appealing to the masses who need to feel “accepted” and “not judged”. It may look “great” (“grate”), but it’s only an open door for the enemy to come in to dull our senses to God’s holiness and put us asleep spiritually. Unfortunately, there are even leaders who are aware of this, but purposely “cover it up” (rug) in order to keep their high profile and large offerings.
Secondly, the sanctuary is supposed to be a place of safety, refuge and set apart for Holy purposes. The fact that it was relatively “unused” in the dream should put the fear of God in us! Sure, church buildings are being used all the time, but are they really sanctuaries? Since when did we redefine the Church to be a Social Hall rather than a House of Prayer? Jesus made his position on this very clear when He came the first time. Where are the Samuels of today who are taking their place to watch with Him, praying fervently and preparing for his coming, guarding and maintaining the holiness of the Lord?
The praying hands are perhaps the biggest indictment on the church. Prayer was never meant to be a gimmick or marketing strategy. Yet, many churches have manipulated this call as a way to get people to flock to their churches for “community prayer” without any history or intention of building relationships with others outside of their own 4 walls. God has called us to pray as a lifestyle, not a program. There is a difference. He has called us as a community of believers, not as an organization of ministries. The season we are in requires us to walk together, serving one another in order to build the Kingdom of God, not our ministry platforms.
Thirdly, does the Church even have the tools necessary to clean up her act? Where were the cleaning tools in the dream? There wasn’t even any designated closet! Have we forgotten how to humble ourselves, seek His face and turn from our wicked ways? Are we even looking for a cleaning closet?! Even worse, do we recognize the dust and dirt that has accumulated around us?
As much as this should bother us, I believe the ultimate purpose of this picture is to call us back to biblical prayer. We need to WAKE UP and take account of our own houses. We need to open our eyes to see what is “on” us and get free from the contamination of the world around us. We need to let the Holy Spirit in to cleanse and restore us as temples of the Living God. We need to keep watch and prepare the way for His coming.
“But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect him.” (Luke 12:39-40)