Within a few minutes of each other I read how confidence in organized religion is down in America and I read a lovely piece on CRC Voices about the interaction between a local pastor and a girl coming in needing to do community service hours. Both remind me of a familiar truth, how the church has often failed, and how despite it’s failure what Jesus started has changed the world and even our expectations.
“Jesus didn’t come to start an organization.”
Folks think they can read Jesus’ mind based on the gospels and many have deduced that the church is some weird accident. I don’t know. Whatever you might think Jesus was thinking (Matthew 18 amongst other passages seem pretty clear) those who followed him DID start the church, and it was unique.
Prior to Jesus what would you get if you went to a city in the Roman Empire at a temple? A show? A meaty meal? Laid? All of course if you had the money to pay. Some pagan temples were kind of like Las Vegas. That didn’t happen with the church.
When Not Even Your Family Will Take You In
I never know what I’ll find at the door or when I answer the phone at my little church. Sometimes it’s a drunk bipolar and his son who wish to play the instruments in the sanctuary. Sometimes it’s someone needing bus money. Sometimes food. Sometimes prayer. Sometimes they’re just angry. Sometime a job. Sometimes I can help. Sometimes I can’t. Sometimes I won’t. In any case their knock or their call says something about the church. The church is often a place you can go when not even your family will open the door or pick up the phone. The church is the last refuge for the refuse of the earth. I know no other place like it.