I'm not sure when the last time was, if ever, that I've attended a staff meeting where the devotional came from Zechariah, chapter 2! But that's what we had in the office this week. Cathy Hooker brought us a reading from Zechariah and also from John, and as frequently happens - the reading made me sit up and pay attention. Listen to this translation from the NRSV:
I looked up and saw a man with a measuring line in his hand. Then I asked, "Where are you going?" He answered me, "To measure Jerusalem, to see what is its width and what is its length." Then the angel who talked with me came forward and another angel came forward to meet him and said to him, "Run, say to that young man: Jerusalem shall be inhabited like villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and animals in it. For I will be a wall of fire around it, says the Lord, and I will be the glory within it."
I think God is trying to tell me something: the Reign of God is a whole lot bigger than we might imagine. We don't need to try and measure it because its size is immeasurable. Where we get in trouble is when we start trying to set the boundaries, of who's in and who's out. Or when we start trying to measure the kingdom, as if there are limits to God's grace.
It's also true for our congregations. Don't you agree that those walls get us in trouble sometimes? What if our congregations could be "inhabited like villages without walls, because of the multitude of people and animals in it?" (The animals might be an issue for the Property Committee, but oh well) How is it that we could begin to think of structuring our life together in that way - where measurements are not needed because God's glory cannot be contained?