I have been thinking a lot about Asklepion this past week. In my defense, we had a great message about it in church last Sunday.
Asklepion was the “healing” center in Pergamum. Pergamum was the city that held the “seat of satan,” and one of the churches that John wrote to in the book of Revelations. I’m not going to go into detail about Pergamum, but there was a concept that hit me.
(for some more info on Pergamum and Asklepion here is a great article on CBN’s site.)
Hanging over the entry of Asklepion was a sign that, interpreted, means, “death is not permitted here.” When I heard that I thought, “Yeah, that’s how the church should be.” Then our pastor told us how they achieved that: if anyone came to the door with an illness that couldn’t be treated, they were sent away. That’s not what I had in mind.
Obviously, in the literal sense, death was not allowed in their building. However, what they conveyed by literally not allowing death into the building is clearly not the truth. On the surface level, the church should absolutely be a place where death is not permitted. We have authority over death. It shouldn’t be allowed in our churches and certainly not in us.
I have been thinking a little deeper with this, though. I’ve been thinking about the idea of intentional misconception in the church. How many of us go to church, to work, anywhere in public and play our parts well? I’ll be very honest with you. There are not many in the public or in my church that know I have a temper. I don’t intentionally hide it, but you better believe that I’m not going to go in there broadcasting it to everyone. That’s deception, plain and simple. We can’t say and pretend to live one way but act and actually live differently without being double minded. That’s such a poor term to describe what I’m saying to you, but it’s all that’s coming to me now.
There’s another side to that, too. How many go out and act/live/be the world when in the world, but when they are in the church they are the holiest person there? It’s sad. Some people are ashamed and so they act different, but some really enjoy the double life.
I am not condemning. I see that log in my eye. I’m just wondering when church became the place to hide and deceive? When did we stop feeling safe in the church? It’s supposed to be a sanctuary, not a snake pit. There aren’t supposed to be any wolves in our flock.
It starts with you and me. It’s starts with a decision – a choice to not be afraid or a choice to not be the snake/wolf (maybe tarantula would be accurate – they sure freak me out!).