Perhaps you heard someone say something like the following: “The last time I went to church, some lady named Mary seemed to be very unpleasant. I can move past that, I thought, but when I sat down, I received cold stares because,” I was told, “you are sitting in Brother and Sister Pleasant’s seats. That was it, I moved on. Thought to myself, if that is ‘church,’ I’ve had my fill of it!”
Has this or something similar happened to you? Perhaps not. Many, however, have had an experience like this, maybe even worse. If you’ve had a bad experience, let me encourage to think afresh about “church.”
In the New Testament, the word “church” is directly related to people called out of the world of sin into a world where people assemble to praise the Almighty for the salvation He freely gave and gives to each. With all the baggage they should have left behind, many present themselves to the Lord with it. Sue has been divorced three times and now married to her fourth husband. Mike has spent the last eighteen years fighting his drug addiction. Tim and Mary have children that are very undisciplined because Tim and Mary are also undisciplined. The list of all the baggage that people bring goes on and on. I, too, have my own baggage.
Yet, here they are inside a building where people gather together to be taught the Lord’s word, sing and praise His holy name in worship. Not a one has lived life without some blotch (or many) on their personal record of failings. Some hide it well; others live with it openly.
After a moment’s reflection, is it not best to be in the environment where people gather to praise the Lord and taught His holy way? It was Peter who said to the Lord, after the Lord asked His disciples if they were also going to turn away from Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go?” To whom will you go?
Why not consider, again, the Lord’s church and what He intended the church to be, spiritually sick people who recognize the Lord’s mercy and in real need of it. RT
(Written for House to House and heart to Heart for our Fall mailing)