But now it stands in a strange uncertainty; connected to the past but certain that no future (except the one of being a half-demolished historical structure) exists. So I ask you…would you like to worship here today? Would you like to serve in this temple? Yes, I realize that there isn’t a front door, maybe a few rats, and the pews are strewn about but seriously…would you like to meet me here on Sunday, sit amongst the filth and decay, and give God some praise?
Yeah, I thought so.
A thought, as sure as the locks on my head, came to me as I sat in my car, stopped at the light on the corner where this church half-stands.
Is this how the world views the Body of Christ? Is this how the “Church” is perceived?
Yes, after 2000+ years, we’re still standing. Yet, how much of what we are known for, what is acknowledged as true about us is connected to our history? Even atheists believe that the “historical Jesus” existed. It’s the whole Son of God thing that they can’t wrap their mind around.
I know the word “relevant” is so cliché when it comes to conversations about the Body of Christ but I do ask, are we relevant to those that we are called to reach or are we just an institution that has been beat up and half demolished by sin (from within and without) yet still calling for people to sit in our pews and worship God as if they don’t see the destruction, the filth, the rats (!) around them?
Are we accessible? Are we inviting? I don’t mean inviting as in the kind of superficial clean-up that we do when unexpected company comes. Throwing everything in the closet so that they can’t see what is just beneath the surface. Nor do I mean that we should compromise the message of Christ in order to appease people. I DO mean inviting as in being the vessel for the love of Christ to a world that is hurting; whose reflection looks much like our own faces before (and after, if we’re honest) we met Him.
Are we standing strong in some areas (like the back part of this church) but in other places…specifically our front door …we are broken and impassable? Do we grieve the Holy Spirit by making entry difficult, giving only the most savvy (and least sincere) of sinners back door/VIP privileges?
Something has to change.
I know this sounds negative. That is not my intention. In fact, a part of me thinks that maybe the whole “all things work together for good (Romans 8:28)” thing is what’s in effect here. Maybe the church as we knew it to be NEEDS to be demolished. The one thing that stands out to me about this picture is that the whole reason why this church remains standing in spite of time, weather, and wrecking ball, is that most likely it was built on a solid foundation.
And so it is with the Body of Christ. Our foundation is Christ. Without a doubt.
However, what we’ve built on that foundation just may need to come down (along with some of our unbiblical traditions and mindsets) so that we can build anew according His word. And I know what you’re saying. Yes, we should honor what has come before us…the people that have laid the groundwork. To a certain extent, I agree. Our past is an important reminder of the victories and testimonies that have happened before but it is also a clear picture of our brokenness and our need for healing in many areas. While we honor our past, we don’t worship it. We don’t build monuments to it. The fact is…any good that came from it was ONLY because of an alignment with Christ. And as long as we maintain that alignment, then change and rebuilding; the shift that we all feel but are too fearful to grab hold of…doesn’t have to be a bad thing.
If Christ is coming for a church without spot, wrinkle, or blemish (Ephesians 5:27)…shouldn’t we stop sitting around half-demolished and get on with the re-construction?