F A L L • 2 0 1 6
VOLUME 17, ISSUE 3
Chris Lee lives in Lincoln, Nebraska with his wife, Carmen, and daughters, Ashlyn and Alyssa. They attend the Lincoln Berean Church. Chris is a self-described "theology junkie" whose mission is to proclaim the unfathomable grace of Christ in a clear, understandable, and Biblical way. Chris is the editor of the Proclamation! Blog at ProclamationMagazine.com. You may contact Chris by email at email@example.com.
The church service was barely half over, and I was already squirming thanks to the extra cup of coffee in which I had indulged at breakfast. Slipping past my wife and two daughters to exit the pew, I quietly made my way down the side aisle back toward the foyer, then took the stairs to the lower level in pursuit of the men’s room. That’s when I saw it. In passing the boiler room, I was riveted by a sinister orange glow dancing through the crack beneath the door. Cautiously easing the door open, I was confronted by a raging fire.
My first instinct was to run, exit from a lower level door, and get as far away from the conflagration as I could. But of course I couldn’t leave my family to the flames. Taking a deep breath I headed back upstairs. I have to admit that, as I entered the foyer, I considered discreetly gathering my family and escorting them out without making a ruckus. As odd as it sounds, even though I knew the danger, I felt reluctant to disrupt the service. I could imagine some people being offended and maybe not even believing me.
When it came down to it though, I couldn’t just leave my friends, extended family, and loved ones there without even a word of warning. So, I mustered my courage and uttered that word of alarm, “Fire!”
I wish I could say it went well, but it didn’t really. A few listened and left with me, but most were as offended as I had imagined. The pastor assured everyone there was no fire, had a few words of admonishment for “trouble makers”, and then went back to his sermon. My family, a few friends, and I left the building a bit bewildered as to why others seemed oblivious to their peril.
At that point I just wanted to walk away—I really did—but I couldn’t. There were too many people in the church that I cared about too deeply just to shake the dust from my feet. So I called 911 and waited outside for help to arrive. I waited near the church where I could help the survivors who occasionally came trickling out the door and windows. Some were nearly overcome with smoke, emerging scared and scarred. I wrapped blankets around them and escorted them to paramedics.
I wanted to walk away, but I couldn’t. I had yelled “fire” and helped others out because it was the right thing to do, because it was the loving thing to do, and because in a sense everyone in that church was my family.
To my Adventist friends, family, and loved ones: I’m still here longing to help and obligated to help. There is a fire in your church. I can’t turn my back on those inside. I’ve been blessed to help many and long to help more. I’m obligated to proclaim what I know and to serve obediently as God gives me opportunity. It’s the only loving, faithful way to live the Life After.†
Copyright 2016 Life Assurance Ministries, Inc., Camp Verde, Arizona, USA. All rights reserved. Revised November 23, 2016. Contact email: firstname.lastname@example.org