The Bride, Christ’s church, is wonderful and worrisome: Wonderful in all we do, and have done; worrisome in all we have done, and still do. We are magnificent, but we can sure be messy – even off-putting to those around us.
I believe we can follow Christ without joining a church – or even attending one on Sundays. But I have come to believe that I see Him better living in the midst of fellow followers – even though we can drive each other nuts.
So many Christ-followers have helped me hear His words more clearly
by how they follow Christ;
by how though they stumble and they rise up.
Christ’s followers show me how to dance whether in a downpour or sunshine. They show me how tight His grasp is on their limp wrists and wobbly knees.
No, we do not have to sign up for Bible studies or Sunday school; we can worship God on the beach – or in the forests; on mountaintops, or in caves. His handiwork is unmistakable. But so are the distractions in this wonderful world. So, I lose track of God’s majesty when I am alone from His people and His word.
When I sit under sound preaching – when I read His word, God’s mercy and holiness overcome me as forcefully as sunsets in Texas, and sunrises in Maryland. But His people distract me in these group settings.
What I know of their burdens and joys; failures, trials and triumphs create questions that generate doubt – doubts that tempt me onto crooked paths. So, I can lose sight of Christ’s path for me, so intent I am in getting the splinter out of their eyes!
Yes, we are a mess – a hospital full of sin-sick sinners, but redeemed and recovering. We are as the lepers in 2 Kings 7:3-30 who have discovered a feast we must share.
We, the church are His legacy, His bride, and our best hope for showing the world what Christ teaches, and each other, His abiding love and care.
Staying away from organized church frees from the hassles of conflict, disappointment, rejection, and ego trips. It frees me from the obligation of putting into practice the commands Christ left with His disciples. Do you know how many times He said, Love one another – as I have loved you?
Well, it’s worth looking up, especially if organized church drives you nuts:
read John 21.
Loving in principle isn’t the same as loving in the trenches.