I love the Church, my heart and passion are to see us fall more and more in love with Jesus Christ and reflect that love to each other and the rest of the world. But the church isn’t doing too great of a job right now. Why is this so? Yes, part of it is that we live in a broken world, but the story doesn’t stop there. God, through Jesus, has called us to something bigger, something more! Though we are broken, we are made whole through Jesus. We are called to transformation, “from one degree of glory to another,” living as a “new creation” in and through Jesus Christ.
We “know” this as followers of Christ, but do we embody it?
As I have spent time pondering and praying about the conversations going on about the state of the church, I guess, my question to myself and us all is–how do we bring about change or a praxis shift? I believe the answer is much easier than we may think. Real “FaceTime,” personal experience, with Jesus is what brings about change, as Ps. 34:8 says, “Oh taste and see that the Lord is good!” Personal encounter, sitting at the feet of Jesus is what institutes change. Beyond sitting at Jesus’ feet, we are called into a deep-rooted, visceral relationship with Jesus. Our identity is found in Christ and if we are not firmly fixed in Him then the church will not be able to function properly; and I believe this may be what we are seeing.
So, here are several (of many) questions I have for us all–we can continue to complain or be disgruntled members of the body or we can work to evoke change–so, lets ask ourselves a few questions:
- What do we feel or sense may bring people closer to Jesus?
- What may help us to show Jesus to the world, and each other, in a more comprehensible and irresistible way?
This goes back to 2 Cor. 4: 5-6:
“For we are not proclaiming ourselves but Jesus Christ as Lord, and ourselves as your slaves because of Jesus. For God who said, “Let light shine out of darkness,” has shone in our hearts to give the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus Christ.”
- What would it look like to have our hearts shine the light of the knowledge of God’s glory in the face of Jesus to our brothers and sisters in Christ, let alone the watching world?
- What might it look like if we embodied Christ and resided more completely in His presence?
- What might our influence look like if we breakdown the barriers of ecclesial snobbery and truly reflect the love of Christ in the boundless way we are called to?
Not easy questions? I agree.
We are seeing the ramifications of a church culture that is not wholly accepting and loving, that has not “put on Christ,” but pollutes the reflection of God’s glory that we are to reflect to others, in and through Jesus Christ. The church, the body of Christ has been called to illuminate, to point others toward the beauty of life found in Jesus, to the “epic story of life” we all belong to. However, I think we are not the best example of what the church should look like today. Both within the body and to the watching world.
I think we can do better than this. I know we can do better than this.
I think we may start by getting rid of all the theological grandeur and intellectual nonsense we have gotten ourselves into and just take a long hard look at Jesus, the person of Jesus: the God-Man, King-Slave, Ruler-Servant, crucified Messiah, and lover of the universe, who UNITES, not divides, all in all.
Might we do that? We should do that.
Then and only then will we do a good job reflecting God’s glory to each other, and to those who have been hurt by the church, and to the rest of the world that is so very hungry for Him.