“If the Church Would be the Church”

My neighbor and I have some lively discussions. It’s refreshing; actually, since our demographics differ greatly. He is an 80 year old widower, father, grandfather, vet; and agnostic   I am 50, wife, mom, and Christian.  We talk about everything: parenting, economics, the state of the country, gardening and when the Spirit opens a window of opportunity-religion. Although his wife was connected to a church family, he had (and continues to have) no desire to learn more about the character of God nor be part of  the body through whom the Holy Spirit here on Earth.

The funny thing is, we share similar philosophies regarding many issues such as parenting, lifestyle and a belief in right and wrong.  The difference of course is that I see my worldview reflecting the “kingdom” on Earth in which I live.  One that is supposed to radiate light to others; one that should bring a salty flavor to those who encounter it; one that turns the human ways of looking at things on its head.  It is indeed a Kingdom that began as God chose to be in covenant with imperfect human beings and through whom would show the other nations that “I am your God”.

As our recent discussion turned to the issues of abortion and valuing life, I heard him passionately state his sadness and anger at the act.  Personally, I  believe abortion to be more than a legal issue. I think there are a plethora of social layers that must be addressed in order to decrease abortions, I stated to my neighbor, “Well, it would help if the Church would be the Church.” 

He stared at me for a minute before replying, “You know…that’s a good one!  That is really true. ‘If the Church would be the Church’, he mumbled to himself. “I’m going to remember that.”

When I said that, I wasn’t referring to protesters outside clinics  or social media comments. I was referring to being the hands of feet of Christ who bear the image of God through actions that seek to restore and bring wholeness-providing, shelter, materials, friendship, help along the journey of giving life. Hopefully, it would result in reducing the possibility that abortion would even be considered as an option.

Because of Ray’s reaction to my statement, I am left pondering the question, “Why is he not seeing the Church?” 

Who else is not drawn to it because its visibility has diminished; it’s saltiness has become stale; its light-dim?

Certainly, we, in our humanity,  can’t fix everything.  Earth is a taste of Heaven.  But at the same time it’s just that-a taste.  Shouldn’t there be something about living in God’s Kingdom that would make people walk away from life as they know it in order to be part of such a place?
Casting Crowns’ song, “We are the body” so eloquently asks the questions we as the church should be asking. (the song is based on James 2)

But if we are the body
Why aren’t His arms reaching?
Why aren’t His hands healing?
Why aren’t His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren’t His feet going?
Why is His love not showing
them…..There is a way?
As Jesus is the way.

In my next post, I will share some creative ways that the body of Christ’s arms reach others in their dire circumstances and show them Jesus is the way.

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