A Church of Living Stones
As I mentioned yesterday, I've been attending some of the Festival of Homiletics, a preaching conference that is being held in San Antonio this week.
Being in a room full of a couple thousand pastors and church leaders has been a great experience, but it also has been a sharp reminder of the very real issues facing the Church right now. The Church is going through a reformation, and reformations are painful.
Not all followers of Jesus who call the Church home, receive the evidence of that reformation with the same enthusiasm. It's pretty clear that the Church is sharply divided over many of the same issues that divide our society.
I read something today by E. Stanley Jones that spoke to me. He wrote, [The Church] must be held together by a single-minded devotion [to Christ]; otherwise we begin to disintegrate."
I've been watching the news lately, and it's disturbing on so many levels. Our society is seemingly being torn apart by constant partisan divisions in politics, a growing economic divide between rich and poor, fierce and destructive debates over social issues, and so much more.
It's time for the Church to step into this growing divide and speak grace and peace, to put aside our petty theological differences and show the world what it looks like when followers of Jesus actually demonstrate they know Him.
In 1 Peter we read the following reminder of our identity as the Church:
"As you come to him, the living Stone--rejected by human beings, but chosen by God and precious to him--you also, like living stones are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ."
I get it. Things haven't been great in Christian world for some time. The Church has taken more than it's share of hits. Many of us find ourselves apologizing on behalf of the Church and other Christians more than we'd like.
But, as Thomas Merton wrote, "No matter how low you may have fallen in our own esteem, bear in mind that if you delve deeply into yourself you will discover holiness there."
May you look deeply within her, and discover the beauty and value of the Church of Jesus. May you dedicate yourself to the task of reformation and transformation of the Church so that the world may know Jesus in a new light--the light shone by His followers, who are single-minded in their devotion to Him.