We are broken. We are imperfect. We are tainted. We are sinful. We are the Church.
I get it.
And I don’t expect to walk into Hallowed Halls and find Heaven. But I do expect to see just a glimpse of “on earth as it is in heaven”; just a tiny bit of what’s up there, come down here.
Instead I find the things that we were supposed to have done away with when we were forgiven, redeemed, reconciled, and made new.
We hold on to unforgiveness, we live in unrepentance and unreconciliation; and when it gets too hard, or too uncomfortable and it looks like we will have to sacrifice our pride, we walk away. We find someone who sells what we are looking to buy, someone to tell us that we’re not really that bad, because, after all, we are the Church.
We bend to the whims of the World and do business with it. We make sure our views and values are politically “right” when instead we should bow before the King and do business with Him, and make sure our hearts are contrite. We stand on the changing tides of opinion rather than on the never changing Word that stands forever.
The Church is blasted across the headlines. And she looks no different than the World, so it gives the World a reason to shake its head and say “We are better off if God is dead.” We defend our brokenness and justify our sin, we pick and choose which parts of the gospel to defend and which ones to ignore.
This should not be the Church.
We should be more. We should not look the same as the World. We should be living our lives set apart. We should be holy, for He is holy.
But I get it.
I don’t expect the glory of heaven just yet; but has He not set eternity in our hearts, so that we should long for more than what we are?
Perfection will never be found this side of eternity. The stink of sin will forever cling to us like smoke from a fire. But it does not mean we have to continue to walk into the fire of sin. But oh how we love to feel its heat. The seduction of the World, the promises made in vain. It tempts even us, the Church.
But what if we put aside our opinions and preferences, and we loved with compassion AND conviction? And we spoke Truth AND Love AND Grace, and what if we were vulnerable and ready to forgive even when our pride says to hold our ground? What if we lived as if we were really being transformed into the image of Christ, because after all, aren’t we the image of God?
Instead, we raise our hands to praise Him on Sunday but leave Him home on Monday. We don’t want to offend, we don’t want to make waves, because we don’t want to live unsafe lives. We crave the love of this World more than we crave the presence of the Father. We want to feel happy with Jesus instead of convicted by the Spirit.
But what if we turn back to the first century Church in Acts, the one that was visited by the Wind of Heaven? And we live with all things in common, and we love those with whom we disagree? What would it mean if we were reconciled to our brothers and sisters the way that He has reconciled Himself to us? And what if we are about the Kingdom instead of ourselves? Oh what if we lay down our right to be right and take up the Cross of Humbleness?
Then we would be the Church indeed.