We’re hard on the Church in general. We’re hard on the American Church in specific. We can take turns on the reasons each of us are hard on the Church.
I am hard on the American conservative Church because of its spiritual blindness. Yet… I stay with it. Why?
There are other who are “hard” on the Church and stay. Others are hard on the Church and leave. We all have reasons.
I stay because I believe in the Body of Christ. I don’t worship a Head without a body. I don’t serve a King without his Kingdom.
I am working my way through Fleming Rutledge’s marvelous book on Advent again this season. One sermon she shares is on resistance and the understanding that our enemy is really an enemy. It’s not the Church. It’s the enemy of God. Our call is to resist that enemy.
She refers to a part of The Screwtape Letters that sparked by thoughts on why we still need to see the glorious church of Christ. Screwtape wrote to Wormwood that one way Wormwood would turn his human away from God is to get the man focused on the mundane parts of the Church. Focus him on the irritations, the bad music, the bad architecture, and so forth.
Here is the key in this part of the letter: Don’t let him see the church as WE see it (meaning the enemy sees it): “spread out through all eternity, terrible as an army with banners.”
If believers could actually see the glorious Church, that splendid Body of Christ, we would realize WE are victorious and our enemy is a fool. (AND, the enemy is NOT the Church.)
Yes, I am hard on the American conservative church. But, I am part of the church and remain a part of the church because the church is beautiful to Christ. He is the head. The head needs a body… and we’re it. Warts and all. (I’d just like us to deal with our awful warts and be about the Kingdom business more that partisan busyness.)
The Lord has enabled us to see the Church as HE sees it. Beautiful. Powerful. Able to take on the enemy of Christ. Triumphant. Glorious.
Help me, Lord, to see through the mess and gain the vision you have of the beautiful Bride. We are indeed an awful work in progress. But a work we are… and progress we make. By your grace. AMEN