“…On this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it.” – Jesus (Matt 16:18b)
I’ve been in the Christian circle long enough to know that as soon as you mention the idea of Church or what it should look like you get hit up the face with EVERYTHING. The good things, the bad things, the awkward things, the confusing things, the traditional things. If I’m being honest I hear more people complaining about the Church than celebrating her. I have been guilty of falling into that trap too… trust me the Lord’s convicted me a lot about my attitude and thoughts on the Church.
The Church was and is God’s idea. She is Christ’s bride. We the people of God are Christ’s bride. We are the Church. We are the one’s sent to bring the Good News.
JESUS LOVES, LOVES, LOVES THE CHURCH!
This blog post has been birthed out of the amazing experience I’ve had of Church over the past fews months. God created us to live in community; remember in Eden the ONLY thing God said was not good was for man to be alone. We are built to live in community with others. We have two options when we live in community or BE the Church (people not buildings) – we can try to fake it or we can be real and vulnerable. Faking sounds a lot more easier, right? But only by being real and vulnerable can we truly experience Church as God intended.
I’m proclaiming that Church is good and I love her.
We’re all in this together: We are all cheering each other on in the faith. I have been blown away by people’s repsonse to texts, calls and conversations where I’ve shared about God doing something in and through my life. Recently I’ve been so overwhelmed by the feeling that people are rooting for me to do what God’s called me to, every step I get closer is not just a significant moment for me but for them also. I treasure the texts that read “Ahhhh I’m so excited for you!” and “This is great news…God is so good!” Because in those moments I realise I’m not alone on this journey of faith. God has given the Church to journey with.
I know this to be even more true when people tell me about God doing something in and through their life and I begin to feel the same excitement and praise that they do. It’s the conversations that start “I need to tell you what God’s just done…you’re gonna love it!!!!” that cause me to literally jump up and down for joy, cry with amazement and cause faith to rise up within me.
It’s okay to take the mask off: Church allows us to be real, to stop pretending, to stop staring at the ground in disgrace but look into the eyes of someone else who gets it. We need to be honest and open. We need to be willing to admit our faults, failure and fears. We need to cry the tears we’ve been hiding, reveal the scars we’ve kept covered up and speak the words we’re too afraid to say outloud. When we are with a community of believers we come with the mutual knowledge that although we are saints we are not perfect so we need to keep coming to foot of the cross. No judgement. We love unconditionally, seek forgiveness were needed and point each other to Jesus. Sharing, Praying and Studying with the Church is what helps you begin to experience true community.
Jesus is our bridegroom: As the Church we have the King of Kings, Lord of Lords, Great High Priest, The Good Shepherd, The Prince of Peace, The Mighty One, The Everlasting God as our head. We come together as one family to worship the One, True living God. We have the priviledge of loving Him, worshipping Him and Serving Him together. Jesus has left us on earth to be His representatives, to proclaim His Gospel and see people’s lives transformed. In the same way we enter into sharing life together as Church, Jesus enters into sharing life with us also. Unlike other organisations and religions whose leaders and founders set it up and then move on; Our leader, Jesus Christ stays with us, helps, enables, supports and encourages us because faith is incredibly personal yet undeniably communal.
I appreciate that this may not be everyone’s experience of Church but can I just leave you with a quote from Jeff Bethke speaking about what happens when you bring broken people together and they try to be Church:
In the same way a mosaic is made up of broken, ragged and dirty pieces of glass, so the church is made up of broken, ragged, and dirty people. But when you zoom out and see the whole picture you see something beautiful. Broken people living life together is a beautiful picture.
Maybe like me, you need to reflect on the beauty of Christ’s Church and realise that although she’s not perfect…one day she will be! Please don’t give up!