Monday, 9 April 2012

Yep, I go along with that.

We are a Church-going family.  My husband is a Pastor so it would be pretty weird if we were not.  Over the years I have thought about this and why I go.  During my time attending different churches I have seen Christians do and say some awful things and, I know the same could be said by those observing me.  I know my heart and thoughts; sometimes they stink.  I read history and struggle to reconcile some of what has been done in the name of the Church.  My mind then drifts to the Bible and realises that nothing is new under the sun.

From the beginning God created a Community in order for His people to meet together and worship Him.  Church is His idea.  He wanted Adam to have a companion to work alongside him in the garden, to share worship together.  Israel was formed in order for God's people to join together in worship as they waited for the Messiah.  Jesus choose a ragbag group of followers to share His earthly work with.  A lot of those men and women were dysfunctional and looked nothing like the heart of God, but they were hand picked to start the global phenomenon which shows no sign of stopping - the Church.

After the first Easter weekend and the 40 days afterwards Jesus was with His small band of followers.  Then He went back to heaven whilst they waited for the coming of the Holy Spirit.  Once that happened their work was to spread the good news of Jesus, setting up local Churches as they went.  It sounds idyllic until we flick a few pages further in the New Testament.  Churches were planted, Christians met and then fell out about serving, doctrines, positions, who to follow etc.  A lot of the New Testament was written to local Churches (that God had led different people to set up) about how to behave towards one another or what we should think about Jesus and His very being.  The book of Revelation mentions many different Churches.

Over the years of being a Christian many people at Church, or Churches themselves, have annoyed, upset or plain confused me.  However, the one thing that has kept me going along to a local place of Worship is a passage in Hebrews Chapter 10:  "Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful.  And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds,  not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching. "   I find it interesting that in the English translation used here the good deeds and the not giving up meeting together are joined by a comma not separated by a full stop.

The Church (local or global) is God's idea, He thought of the plan so that His followers would have community.  He longs for His people to worship Him in Spirit and truth as individuals, but also together.  He gave us the Church so that we could be strengthened, encouraged and challenged.  Sometimes that will mean it is hard work but at other times the fellowship with other believers will be real joy.  It may sometimes look battered, shabby and lacking in any kind of spiritual awareness but it is His, and one day will be perfected in sinless unity to Worship Him forever.

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