Why I Love the Church – A Love Letter

Dearest and beloved bride of Christ,

Photo Credit: Marc (Creative Commons)

You, my dear, are messy.  You are full of infighting and corruption and all other kinds of shenanigans.  You get easily distracted by doctrinal disputes and CEOs of fast-food chains.  You are condemned and judged from every side, from those without and those within.

You are ridiculed by those who would discredit anything supernatural.  You are attacked by those who value tolerance over truth.  You are abandoned by those who have given up on “institutionalized religion.”  You are accused of hypocrisy, sometimes rightfully so.

The thing is, you are made up of people, like any institution.  People of incredibly diverse backgrounds and perspectives, people with different gifts and talents and ways of seeing the world.  And while there is conflict, there is also cooperation.  And while there is intolerance, there is also grace.  You may be divided on so many things, but you are united in Christ, and when you remember that you are dazzling.

When you are being the body of Christ, loving Him and loving others, He is able to do such amazing things through you.  You bring hope to the hopeless, food to the hungry, medicine to the sick, comfort to the brokenhearted, freedom to the oppressed, and order to the chaos.  You are His messenger in this broken, fallen world and the changes you bring are fantastic.

You are not perfect.  How could you be, you collection of sinners?  But you are forgiven and redeemed, holy and blameless in His sight.  Live in that knowledge, seek Him first, and He will make you glorious, a city on a hill, a light in dark places when all other lights go out.

I have witnessed many of your incarnations.  Big and small, instruments and no instruments, liturgies and free-for-alls.  I have sung praise to our Lord with you in English, Spanish, and Nepali.  I have shared communion with you using wine and grape juice (and even one time blue Gatorade).  I have seen Christ working in you, His bride, in groups of 3 and 3,000.  And while you may argue and disagree over which of these forms is better than the other, our Head is present in all of them, and that makes all of them beautiful.

My mother loves God’s word.  She spends time in it and soaks it up and hides it in her heart.  I am wired a bit differently.  While I will probably always struggle to spend consistent time in the scripture, I love being with you.  I love attending services and having family dinners with you.  I love talking with you and spending time with you and doing my best to encourage you.

There is still work to be done, of course.  There are many things I wish you did better or differently, but that does not erase the joy I get from being with you, from being a part of you.  I love you, church, and I cannot wait to feast with you in the presence of our Groom one day.

You, my dear, are messy.  But it is a beautiful mess.

Love, Rachel

*Photo Credit: Marc (Creative Commons)

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8 Comments

  1. Anonymous

     /  July 26, 2012

    Masterful . . . I’m gonna start using some of your blogs as discussion starters for my current youth group. No pressure. :)

    Reply
  2. Beautiful….

    Reply
  3. This is beautiful. Utterly beautiful.

    Reply
  4. I loved this post! Thanks for sharing. I though it was really beautiful and I had to read it twice just to let it all sink in.
    My favorite line was” While I will probably always struggle to spend consistent time in the scripture, I love being with you”.
    Me too sister! It summed up my insecurities about that fault in my own life and made me Praise Him for knowing my heart and love for Him even when I don’t spend consistent time in the word.

    Jenny
    http://smallstillvoices.wordpress.com

    Reply
    • Thank you so much! There is always so much (often deserved) criticism of the church, even among its own members, that I think we sometimes forget how beautiful it is.

      And I’m always glad to hear I’m not the only one who struggles with consistency. Ah, the beauty of sharing our strengths and weaknesses for the glory of God :)

      Reply

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  • A collection of ramblings and musings on Jesus, life, education, family, and anything else that pops into my head.

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