Summary: When people come to your church, what will they find there? Will they find Jesus there? Will they find love, acceptance, fellowship, salvation there?
The story that I begin with today is a true story.
Her name was Helen. She lived in New Westminster, British Columbia, Canada. They found her body one night at the door of Emmanuel Pentecostal Church. Helen had been trying to get into the church. But she never got further than the door.
There was a single man from that congregation that had an apartment in the church and he lived there as the caretaker and security guard. His name was John Harris. He heard what he thought was a scratching or clawing at the door of the church that night. He quickly got dressed and made his way carefully to the front door where he heard the noise.
First he looked out the little window in the front door and he didn’t see anyone there. Then he quietly began unlocking the door. Thinking it was perhaps a stray animal you can imagine his surprise when he opened the door and found the body of a woman laying there. In fact she sort of fell into the church as the door opened because she had been laying up against the base of the door.
At once he recognized the blood that seemed to be everywhere from obvious wounds on the woman’s body. She was still breathing but just barely. John immediately made his way to the telephone and alerted the police and emergency personnel. Then he called the pastor and told him what was going on.
The police arrived on the scene quickly and began to assess the situation. The emergency personnel showed up and tried to help the woman but she had already lost so much blood. Helen had been stabbed repeatedly and as a result of her wounds it was too late for her when they arrived and shortly life and breath quietly left her broken body.
This was an easy crime for the police to solve however, because all they had to do was follow the trail of blood that led to where the crime had taken place. It led them to her second floor apartment just around the corner and about three blocks away from the church, where she lived with her boyfriend. He was still there with knife in hand sitting on the floor of the apartment in a pool of blood. The police immediately took him into custody and arrested him.
But there where still some questions that were unanswered. The police wondered as they followed the trail of blood back to the church why Helen had come here to this church. Why didn’t she pound on her neighbor’s door for help? Why not to the little convenience store on the corner of the street that was open 24 hours a day. Why did she pass the phone in front of the store? If she had gotten help sooner there was a real good chance that she could have been saved before the loss of blood became too great.
The trail of blood went from her apartment down the stairs onto the sidewalk. It didn’t stop at any house along the way. It kept going for three blocks and they could tell that Helen, at times, had drug herself along the sidewalk. There were places where there was more blood than others as she stopped along the way to, no doubt, regain strength. If she had just turned into one of the houses, but she didn’t and Helen kept crawling along to the church. She drug herself around the corner of the third block and headed to the church. At the bottom of the steps to the church she must have laid there for a long time until she finally gained enough strength to climb the stairs. Up the stairs she went to the front door, where she had tried to open it up and that was where John, the caretaker, found her.
When the Pastor arrived he was able to identify the body as that of a young woman that he and his wife had taught a Bible Study to about a year ago. “So she is a member of your church,” the policeman said. “No, she doesn’t attend any church to my knowledge,” replied the Pastor. She had shown so much interest when they talked to her about the Lord. But she had never made it out to church. All she knew about the church was through that one Bible Study. So it was a mystery to the police why she did what she did.
∑ Why did she struggle for three blocks and around the corner to the church?
∑ Why was she trying to get into the church?
∑ What did she expect to find there?
∑ What did she expect to see?
∑ What could getting into the church do to help her in the condition that she was in?