God is too big for a box

Published 8:00 am Monday, April 8, 2019

By John Warren


There are so many things that belong in a box. 

Jack belongs in a box, it just wouldn’t be right for Jack to be in a bag.  Jack can’t jump out of a bag.  

Shoes belong in a box.

For years and years, cereal belonged in a box but now it comes in bags also.  

Chocolates really good ones, come in a box, so you can say life is like a box of chocolates you never know what you’re going to get.  Forrest would not sound the same saying anything else.  

It seems strange to see our lives put in boxes.  

Many of you have been living this way and it is second nature to you.  But it is a challenge, to find boxes, then to find just the right box that the wonderful object Sandra cannot do without will fit.  Or what to give away or take to the church garage sale, or what to pack for the move. 

Hopefully, this will be the last move before Sandra puts me in a box as well.  

I am thinking about that, maybe I would rather be exploded into thin air as fireworks, well, I have plenty of time to think about that. 

But there are things that just do not belong in a box.  

Nobody would think of drinking coke from a box, it’s far too messy.  

Most people would use a box to mail an Easter egg, but I actually got one in the mail, it had my address and stamp on it, and it came through the mail without a crack!  

But Sandra and I are packing up our lives and putting them in a box, our possessions, that is. 

We cannot put the love we have found together as we have come to love the people of Orange that does not fit in a box it fits in our hearts.  

But there are things we put in boxes that were not meant for boxes.  

When I was a youth growing up, I had a friend who is three years older than I, who was very talented.  

Jake Thorp worked at First United Methodist in Orange many years ago, and he wrote a song called, “God Doesn’t Live in the Sanctuary.”  The lyrics speak of not putting God in a box within the walls of the church but we as Christians are meant to carry God out to the people to be God’s hands, feet and voice in the world.  

I am sure he sang it here as we did also in our youth group in Houston.  

It is not for the churches to keep God in a box but to welcome and invite others in to experience God’s love to go out and share that love with others in the world. 

 In Jesus’ sermon on the mound, Jesus says in Matthew 5:15  Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead, they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house.’ 

What does it mean, hide a light under a bowl?  We do not hide our faith and Christian story we share it in the world, it doesn’t belong in a box where no one can see or hear it.  


John Warren is Senior Pastor at First United Methodist Church, 502 North 6th Street in Orange.