You taste the apple but its chalky.
You buy the car but its a lemon.
You take the holiday but rains all the time.
We went to Lindisfarne today. Visually it was beautiful, haunting; ancient history before your very eyes.
But I went home disappointed. Why? Because what I saw today present Christianity as a museum piece; it talked about the Gospel, but presented nothing of its content. In the Lindisfarne Centre there was a lot about the history of the island in the face of Viking invasion; a lot on the history of how the Lindisfarne Gospels were written and illustrated; a lot about life on the island in that early era; a lot about Cuthbert. Not a lot - if anything - about Jesus.
Where was the content of the four Gospels? Who was it that the early missionaries spoke about? Why was it the monks lavished so much effort on their books?
Where was God? Where was Jesus?
Nowhere in what we saw today - with one exception, the Catholic shopkeeper who had various devotional items in the general store. How come I could buy any number of books on the history of the Lindisfarne Gospels, but couldn't buy a copy of the Bible on the island (let along a copy of Matthew, or Mark, or Luke, or John)?
A lot of the 'Christian history of England' seems to be about the buildings, the institutions, the kings, and not about Christ himself.
A lesson for home - in one hundred or a thousand years time people of talking about the Anglican Christians of Canberra and Goulburn Diocese (or whatever your home region or demonination is) will they be talking about your faith in terms of its outward signs (buildings and documents) or about the Lord Jesus Christ?
Does our use of money and energy represent our investment in proclaiming Jesus or proclaiming our institution?