At the church I was visiting this morning a fellow was talking about a conversation he’d had with his brother who’s not a believer.
They were sharing the regular stuff about car trouble and sickness going through the family, until the one brother said to the other:
“It really doesn’t make any difference, does it?”
“Your being a Christian. You’re going through all the same junk that I am. What good is Christianity?”
And I loved the Christian brother’s response. He told his brother there is this verse in scripture (Corinthians 1:17) that points out:
In Him (Christ) all things hold together.
And there it is right there.
We Christians don’t claim to be better people, and we’re not saying going to church instantly fixes everything.
We’ve just found the One that can hold it together, and are learning to live on the strength He provides.
~ ~ ~
I get so disappointed sometimes when I hear people talking negatively about “the church.”
Part of that is because it is my culture (know any other peoples with a strong sense of culture that enjoy it being minimized or maligned?).
Part of that is because I know the complainers frequently are griping based on a stereotype.
And part of my let-down is that the “culture at large” seems to expect us to be better than them, somehow. Really.
I wonder what people expect the church to do. On the one hand they say, “Don’t judge me.”
Which is fine: Paul, one of the major (human) writers of the New Testament, basically said the behavior of those outside the church wasn’t his concern as a spiritual leader, it was those inside.
Then, with the next breath, these people who want to be let alone judge those they see, saying (it seems) “How dare you be imperfect?” (I think we all know Christians don’t have the corner on hypocrisy. Just the spotlight.)
It was Jesus himself who said,
“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick. I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.”
This is what the pastor talked about this morning: the church being imperfect.
He quoted Philip Yancy (I should have asked which book, because I didn’t recognize this) when he pointed out three humiliations Jesus had to endure:
- Becoming a human baby (and all the helpless ignominy that includes).
- To die on a cross like a common criminal; a sinless man with all the wrath of God heaped upon him for the sin of the world.
- To leave his representation and reputation in the hands of fallible, sinful people.
~ ~ ~
People sin. People do stupid things. People do things that wreck their own lives and wound those around them.
And Christians are people.
The whole reason true Christians are in church, the reason we’ve submitted ourselves to the Lordship of Christ, is because we know we don’t have it all together.
We’ve usually proven to ourselves and to others that we’re not capable of getting it together.
And that is why we look outside of ourselves.
He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.
He is the image of the invisible God, the firstborn of all creation.
For by him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones or dominions or rulers or authorities—all things were created through him and for him.
And he is before all things, and in him all things hold together.