Thursday, November 17, 2011

church and Church

It is a temptation to try to capture God within our church activities. We assume that Bible studies, prayer meetings and devotions equal a relationship with God. Love this quote from Thomas Howard in Christ the Tiger.

“[Christ] was a figure we could neither own nor manage. We claimed it as our special possession and exacted tribute and built shrines and established forms in which to incarcerate it, only to discover that it had fled. It would not be enshrined. It was the figure of a man, and a man must live and walk with other men or die, and this man was alive. He challenged out attempts to shelter Him and prop up His doctrine. What He spoke, He spoke loudly and freely, and His words were their own defense. When we tried to help things by urging sweetness and light, or by interdicting what looked threatening, or by tithing mint, anise or cumin, we found Him towering over us, scorching our efforts into clinkers, and recalling us to wildness and risk and humility and love. Just at the moment when we thought we had guaranteed our own standing in His good favor, He escaped us and returned with His hammer to demolish things. Try as we might, we could not own Him. We could not protect Him. We could not incarcerate Him. For he always emerged as our judge, exposing our punctilio and fright by the candor and boldness of His love.”

I think this struggle is as old as the Apostles. And I think that we must always remember that Christ’s Church is not a substitute for Christ Himself. Jesus Christ is the ideal and the actual. 

Christ is our Judge and, therefore, when we raise our meetings, church services, altars, prayers and annotated Bibles above Him, He is not our focus any more. 

The meetings we find boring, bore Him too.

"Return, return, and think again what I have asked of you: to follow justice, and love mercy, and do your job of work, and love one another, and give Me the worship of your heart--your heart--and be merry and thankful and lowly and not pompous and gaunt and sere."

Give your heart to Christ. He will save it.

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