Before we we pick up with the story from my previous post, let’s pause and take a look at the church. What is it really? It’s easy to say that you are hurt by the church but what is the church? How can “it” hurt us? the dictionary defines church as ‘a building used for public Christian worship’. If we speak of church in this context then we cannot be hurt by it – after all a building simply cannot hurt you! This must mean that this is not what we are talking about when we speak of church. The dictionary also describes church as ‘the hierarchy of clergy within a particular Christian Church’. Hierarchy is a system which once again cannot hurt you. These explanations of church are partly true in that the church does meet in a building and does have a hierarchy but it does not describe The Church that Jesus died for. Jesus didn’t die for bricks and mortar or for a particular system or hierarchy. Jesus died for people! Yes he clearly says in the Bible that he died for the church.
“… just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself for her ” – Ephesians 5:25
Church comes from the Greek word ekklésia which is defined as “an assembly” or “congregation”. If you really want to dig into the meaning, it also means “out from and to” and “to call” which translated means that the church is a people called out from the world and to God. It is the worldwide body of believers whom God calls out from the world and into His eternal kingdom. The apostle Paul says in Romans 16:5, “Greet also the church in their house” clearly showing that the people who were meeting were the church and the house was the building that they met in. And so, whenever we refer to the church, this is what we are talking about.
Sadly this is what can hurt us, the church. It can hurt because it is made up of people – imperfect, saved by grace, on a journey, clothed in His righteousness people. There is no perfect church because there are no perfect people. People make mistakes and need forgiveness. Even leaders mess up and need grace both from God and from the church. Often the people that hurt us had the best intentions but still they end up hurting people. At times though, there is pure evil, manipulation, control and other such nonsense in our church too. It’s not just those who hurt us that are responsible either, we too carry a responsibility as we can be hurt simply by misunderstanding, being overly sensitive, insecure and a whole range of other possibilities. So, can you see how this is a recipe for disaster in many ways. Without Jesus forgiveness and grace and the constant guidance of the Holy Spirit, no church would stay together.
“We are many parts of one body, and we all belong to each other.” – Romans 12:5
I LOVE CHURCH! I love what I believe Jesus died for and the vision he gave us for building a church. In an idea world it would be prefect. We can’t have perfection here on earth but what not get as close as possible? I will continue sharing my story and you will see why I am so passionate about church and how I still dream of one day building a church that comes very close to how it could be.