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Observing the World from Behind Closed Curtains

When Krish Kandiah was young, growing up in the United Kingdom, his family could always count on their next-door neighbor, Mrs. Oglive, to be around. They left a spare key with her in case they got locked out, because she was always there—morning, afternoon, and night—to let them in.

Mrs. Oglive never went out. She suffered from agoraphobia, the fear of open spaces. Having lived next door to her for 40 years now, they still haven’t seen her venture past her doorway. She wasn’t always this way. She has pictures on her mantelpiece of less anxious days, from her honeymoon with Mr. Oglive and from a day at the beach with her children. But after her husband died, Mrs. Oglive began to isolate herself.

One can only imagine the heavy cloud of fear and frustration that surrounds her. Now frail and in the twilight of life, Mrs. Oglive’s curtains are almost always drawn.

There are some parallels between Mrs. Oglive and the contemporary church. Many Christians observe the world from behind closed curtains, bemoaning culture instead of engaging it. Many local churches are isolated from the wider community and world, bunkered up like doomsayers, suffering from fear of an open public square with divergent viewpoints and lifestyles.

Possible Preaching Angle:

Only by encountering the risen Christ and receiving the life-giving power of the Holy Spirit are we able to step beyond our doors and carry out God’s mission. When we do so, we are transformed from an agoraphobic church to an apostolic church.

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