The Message of the Empty Chairs on Sunday


So, Sunday morning comes around and you want to focus on worshipping God but there’s a problem. Empty chairs.

We cannot ignore the empty chairs in our midst. And we shouldn’t. Through this silent multitude, God speaks to us.

Through those who are not present, the ever present One delivers a message of challenge and hope. What does God say through empty chairs?

First He says to us “Do not be afraid.”

God knows what we are made of and He understands the fear that emptiness creates.

It is in our design to want to correct emptiness for it was into the emptiness of time that the Creator spoke into being all that we know and we are created in His image. Yet, that is the very reason we shouldn’t fear when faced with emptiness but have every reason to hope.

Like our Creator, we are empowered by His spirit to fill emptiness with light and life. Faced with emptiness, we should see not an end, but a beginning.

The empty chair beside you does not have to be the end of what you have known. Instead, let it be a beginning of a new adventure in faith. The beginning of a relationship with the one only God knows will soon be seated there.

Pray for courage. Pray, also, for the missing one who has yet to join us.

Next, God says “Stand firm.”

Emptiness brings with it the temptation to doubt, to yield, to surrender to that which is not of God.

Empty stomachs tempt us to steal. Empty gas tanks tempt us to doubt that God will provide. Empty lives tempt us to believe there is no God and so, we reason, we may as well live without thought for future judgment.

Likewise, empty chairs tempt us to consider vacating our own place at the gathering. Empty chairs tempt us to compromise the message of truth to see the chairs full again. Empty chairs tempt us to believe God has forgotten us, does not see us, will not reward us for our efforts on His behalf.

These empty chairs ask us if we truly believe what we say we believe.

We are not the first in the faith to face empty chairs.

The disciples faced chairs emptied through missions, betrayal, and martyrdom. Throughout history, believers have faced chairs emptied by disagreement, death, persecution, separation, imprisonment or shipwrecked faith. We are surrounded by a great cloud of witnesses who urge us not to abandon our own place at the worship table and not to lose heart because of these empty chairs.

Pray for the strength to remain firm in the faith of Christ even when you are taunted by emptiness.

The final message our God would say to us through these empty chairs is this: “Continue the work. We are not home yet.”

Have we been content to sit by as others miss the call of Christ? Have we done all that we are called to do to see that others know they are invited to and welcome at this gathering? Have we, through our own negligence, hypocrisy, self-involvement, fear or blindess chased away the inhabitants of the chairs? Is the empty chair beside us a personal invitation from Christ to participate in the furthering of His kingdom, to repent of our own sin, to go deeper with Christ?

God does not fear emptiness.

He boldly enters an empty heart and fills it with Himself. He lovingly enters an empty world and fills it with His light. He powerfully enters an empty church and fills it with the Fire of his Holy Spirit.

God spoke to the world through an empty tomb. What is He saying to you today through empty chairs?

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3 Comments

    The Conversation

  1. Andrea says:

    Facing new beginnings with you, Andrea

  2. Julie says:

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  3. Bethany says:

    In my efforts to not focus on the empty chairs, I have embraced Him…..and the following is my mantra for dealing with the storms that arise throughout the journey.

    “Don’t tell God how big the storm is…
    Tell the storm how big your GOD is”

    Bethany