Monday, August 24, 2009

The relevance of Church today (continued)

Wow what a week! I had a lot of district business to deal with last week with no extra time left to blog. Whew, now that a new week has dawned I want to follow up on a thread I introduced last Monday on the relevance of the Church in society today. The key questions that I posed were, "Is and how is the Church relevant today?"

I am amazed how the nomenclature of society changes with each passing generation. Some words that were considered socially inappropriate to use 40 years ago are often common place in society today ... the word "suck" is a case and point example. My dad would have knocked me into next week and mom would have washed my mouth out with soap if I would have used the word "suck" as flippantly as so many do today in reference to people and things. Today I pulled out an old dictionary from my college years and the primary definition for the word suck is "to draw liquids through vacuum." Now one of the primary definitions used for the word means "a subject or situation that has no redeeming qualities or areas of deficiency." Hmmmm.

Some say this describes the state of the Church today. That she has little or no redeeming qualities. I disagreed and mentioned several points to refute that notion last week. The second part of the definition is more difficult to refute however because the "Church does have areas of deficiency." Why? The Church is comprised of people and people have issues. In any gathering of humans the broken and woundedness of individuals will be displayed presenting areas of deficiency. We all have them and any Christ follower worth his/her salt will admit to being a work in progress. As the old song goes, "He's still working on me, to make me what I ought to be... How loving and patient He must be, cause He's still working on me."

In the body of Christ our deficiencies can become God's greatest glory. For "in our weaknesses He is made strong" the scriptures say. Also through humbleness of heart we have opportunity to experience God in new ways because of our deficiencies. When deficiencies/inconsistencies present we have the joy of inviting God's Spirit in to invade our lives and transform us into the image of Christ ... to deal with our stuff.

In the holiness tradition we refer to this experience of transformation as "heart purity." It refers to the Christ follower who asks God to fill his/her heart with His love. As the heart fills with God's love everything that is not of Christ is pushed out. God is love (I John 4:8) and everything God does is simply Him acting out the essence of who He is. When we surrender our lives completely to God and ask Him to fill us with His love we then will be imitators of God (Ephesians 5:1-2), living out of the abundance of His love and not through sin and/or the sum total of the brokenness of our lives. Hmmmm... maybe finding a deficiency or two now and then is a good thing? What say you?

Thanks for stopping by!

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