And he is the head of the body, the church… (Col. 1:18)
There are little snippets from Colossians and Ephesians that cause my heart to leap out of my love for the Church. They give me life and hope all over again. While I am hard on what I see in the white conservative American Church, it doesn’t mean I don’t love the Body of Christ.
And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. (Eph. 1:22,23)
This is why I love the Church. It is why I am hard on the part of the Church I know best. Perspective keeps me in this relationship instead of bailing completely on the Body of Christ. I understand there are bad expressions of the Church, but overall the Body of Christ is beautiful.
Christ loves the Church. I can’t love Christ and despise his Body! Christ knows the condition of his Bride and he is always at work in her.
I learned a lesson on the refining of my call as a minister this past week. I was in a situation where I knew I would be called on and it wasn’t a situation I necessarily wanted to be in, though I had been in those scenarios plenty of times in the past. Knowing in my heart what was coming, I sensed the leading of the Lord and he taught me a nuance of my call I had not considered before.
Leading up to that night I would have said I am called to serve Christ and his Church. That night, as I was in prayer and knowing I was about to be put into an uncomfortable situation, the Lord gave me a new idea on my calling:
I am here to serve Christ IN his Church.
When I thought of it as “serving Christ AND his Church” it was defining the place I wanted to be and find joy in serving in that place. As I stood in this other space and the Lord was teaching me, I realize that when Christ calls me to serve, it is wherever in his Body he sees fit at that time. And that time, I was in a space that had been familiar, yet I had wanted to leave it in the past. And Christ was calling me to serve those people in his Church in that moment.
To love Christ is to love his Church. It is to plow through the tough stuff. It is to rejoice in the things that bring joy. It is to bring healing and correction where needed as well.
I do indeed love the Church. Warts and all, it is HIS Body and when I am in love with Christ, I cannot separate the head from the body. So, in loving Christ, I serve him… and I serve him IN his body as he sees fit.