Learning What It Means To Be The Church



Is it safe to just be who we are? - Lana del Rey

I was talking with a friend of mine and we both were bemoaning the fact that our society and culture is so divided and filled with tension. 

Our conversation quickly turned to the way that the Church sadly reflects that same tension through the many Christians who are often at the forefront of cultural divisions, adding to the tensions, rather than easing them.

No matter what side we tend to land on the cultural issues that seem to divide us, Christians of all stripes often find themselves wondering about one another, "You can't really be on my team can you?" 

The other day I found a humorous illustration in one of my daily readings.  I'll recreate it with my own little twist here:
Little girl: Are you a Presbyterian?
Little boy: No, we belong to another abomination.
The Apostle Paul once posed a very pointed and poignant question of one of the churches he was trying to help through a particularly difficult rift.  "Is Christ divided?" he asked them. 

I'm guessing that Paul would truly be grieved to discover just how divided Christ has become. 

The idea of divisions within the Church is a construct born out of selfishness, pride and a tribal longing for uniformity.  In other words, people tend to gravitate toward comfort and sameness. 

But if the Church is going to fulfill it's mission to embody the kingdom of God to the world...

If Christians are going to fulfill their calling to be salt and light, to bring God-flavors and divine illumination... 

If communities of faith are going to make a difference rather than always trying to make a point... 

We are going to have to learn to surrender our pride, our comfort and our desires for uniformity in favor of authentic community, active listening, mutual respect and forbearance.  

We'll have to actually learn what it means not just to go to church, but to be the Church.  

May this be so for you today and every day.  May you discover new moments to listen, and learn.  May you seek common ground with your sisters and brothers--even those who you disagree with.  

And may the grace and peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you now and always. Amen.  

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