Monday, October 01, 2012

Loving the Broken Church

As I was preparing myself to join with other believers yesterday, I was getting frustrated as I thought of the shortcomings of the church and how I didn’t expect much encouragement or support. As I thought of this a few resolutions came before my mind and heart that brought me encouragement and hope (with a little dose of rebuke!)

I realized that:

1) I was being unrealistic in my expectations. Every church is a broken church and not ideal. Too often I have related to the ideal church to the point that I have missed the glory of Jesus in the messy reality of the people before me. How many opportunities have I missed in relating to real people? I think here of the people in Corinth who gave Paul such head and heart-aches. How come we forget about the Corinthians when we are idealizing and romanticizing the first century church? Lord help me. Not only was I being unrealistic but hypocritical to the extreme. Here I am, aware to an extent of deep brokenness and inability in me, and I'm judging others for their brokenness??

2) Further, instead of thinking of what I can “get,” I need to think and pray through why God planted us in this particular context of people. What can I give? Somehow, this little assembly needs us. Humbling to think about.

3) Sometimes the brokenness of a local church is not found in the obvious outward signs - crumbling relationships, addiction, conflict, etc. Oftentimes in the N. American context a church’s brokenness is found in its inability to see just how broken and needy it really is (wasn’t this one of the chief charges of Jesus against the churches in Revelation?).

It is easy for us to love the ideal church - the one that we want/need it to be or think it ought to be. Rarely do we see the church for what she is, with all her blemishes and disfigurement, and choose to love her as she is. Each unique assembly is uniquely screwed up, uniquely disfigured by sin and by wounds. In the midst of the disfigurement is the resurrected Christ, giving life and forgiveness, and upon His presence we put our hope, not on fixing what is broken. We are broken and beloved together.

Ultimately, we love the broken church because this is the only church that there is.

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