The story is told of a young child, who, when the Anglican Priest came to the family home for lunch after a morning worship service, was rather bold and honest in his conversation. He expressed to the Priest that working at church must be a very dangerous occupation. Everyone was anxious for more details, so the child continued: “I heard my parents talking and they said the Canon was in church, some big shot in the pulpit, the sermon was brutal, the choir murdered the anthem and the organist drowned the congregation!”
This, unfortunately, is not such an innocent observation. Someone has said that if the church was really an army it would have the highest rate of friendly fire casualties. CHURCH SHOULD NOT BE A DANGEROUS PLACE! It is to be a place to meet God, to feel secure in his care, to be loved upon by his people. It is a place for me to fit in, to find a purpose and identity, to really belong.
Ephesians 2:19-22 = #1. we are members of God’s family + #2. we are joined together in him + #3. we are a place where God lives by his Spirit. Connected to God and connected to each other! God lives in the church and he is not an absentee landlord. All this sounds like the church of Jesus Christ is a good place, a safe place.
On the basis of these three observations it behooves me to speak positively of Christ’s church. Shame on those who talk trash about my family – and I confess I have done my share of this kind of trash talk through the years! I have seen and experienced the church at its best and at its worst, but pain and frustration do not excuse me. The church is the family of God himself! It is his residence. God please forgive me when I dis your kin.
In his book The Purpose Driven Life, Rick Warren exhorts us to carry out our responsibility, indeed our purpose, to protect the church. Protect its mission, its unity, its vitality, its people. Are you on target these days, living on purpose? It’s the only best way to live.
“Purpose keeps it fresh. And when we are filled with purpose, we tap into an endless supply of energy.” – Jon Gordon