Back to Basics – The Church

“Church” conjures up many different images to many different people.  I asked the children this morning for words that come to mind when they hear the word “Church”.  Many of the responses were content words like God, Jesus, Cross, and the like.  But lots of others were like belonging, home, community.

The thing is, I know that for lots of people, “Church” conjures very bad things in their minds.  Bad things have happened to some, other have seen fighting, manipulation, deceit; other have just been bored out of their skins; others have been forced to go against their will.

“Church” really does mean lots of things to different people.  To be sure, there has been a lot of wrong, and there has been a lot of right, done through the church in the name of Jesus.

Some have questioned whether Jesus would be ashamed of what the church has become.  Others say they are quite keen on Jesus, but they want nothing to do with the church.

I confess I don’t connect with pomp or ceremony; I don’t quite put off by churches that want to look impressive, and I find it downright repulsive if impressive is only on the surface.

I believe that church is the place for people truly trying to follow Jesus, and those having to look to see if it’s for them.  It isn’t a place for pretending, and it isn’t a place to make a reputation for yourself.

It is a place where we aught to love one another (that is, with godly love) as Jesus instructed us.  It is a place where all should be equal, regardless of any standing some have in the world.  It should be a place of generosity, and commitment towards the things God is trying to achieve in the world.

Despite the negativity many people have towards church, do you know what I’ve found?  God hasn’t given up on us yet.  The past mightn’t be all roses, but God is still working with the church (and the churches, in all their diversity) towards a future.

And if God hasn’t given up, then nor have I.

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