The Church

A man in our church wrote this several weeks back and on Sunday I saw him and asked if he minds if I post it and he said "sure! go right ahead!" So thank you, Seth... this was a blessing to me and I'm sure it will be to others.

I love the church.
I really do. I love the way she’s made up of such an eclectic, diverse, strange group of people who worship this crazy guy named Jesus who claimed he was God.

We gather in homes and large buildings, in coffee shops and breweries, in the early morning and late at night, in the gym and around campfires—and do what? We praise and honor this Jesus.

We sings songs that were written thousands of years ago by men we hope to one day meet, and we sing songs that were written last week by men and women we know by name. We raise our hands. We bow our heads. We get on our knees. We stand in awe.

We call the man in the deepest jungles of Africa brother, and we call the woman in the farthest reaches of Asia sister. We will never, this side of heaven, meet the billions of people—today and throughout history—who profess faith in Jesus, but we call them family.

I’ve seen hundreds of people mourn over the loss of a child and set aside time to care for the family: pray for them, bring them food, honor their dead. I’ve seen hundreds rejoice at the good news of a new marriage and gather around a new couple to support and cherish them as they set on the path of their lives together. I’ve seen men help a single mother move from one apartment to the next, and buy her lunch afterward because they know that—though she offered pizza and beverages-it came at a cost she couldn’t afford. I’ve seen children get adopted out of the worst of conditions, because there are families out there who understand that they were adopted by God out of the worst of conditions.

I’ve seen such acts of love and tenderness and humility and grace that it makes my heart hurt to think about them. Envelopes with cash handed to families with children because the husband got laid off from work. Fathers asking young sons for forgiveness when they’ve disciplined out of anger instead of love. A dying mother who prays—not for healing, no, those days are long past—but for her husband and her two small children, that they would live a full life and pursue Christ after she’s gone. Community groups who go downtown to feed the homeless, organic groups who rise up within the church to gather toys for poor children at Christmas, countless teams who volunteer their time to serve the church in ways most will never see.

These men and women have had their lives changed by Jesus Christ, and have given of themselves out of gratitude to a great God who gave Himself for them.

We’ve got some problems, but I’ll take the problems of this dysfunctional, imperfect body we call the church any day, because it comes with the type of love I’ve seen.

Oh, I love the church alright—in all her variations. I love the older brother who wears a suit on Sunday and thinks that drums are from the devil. I love the younger sister who cries at the drop of a hat and only listens to contemporary Christian music. I love the zealous young men who think that church discipline is fun and constantly want to argue about predestination. I love the couple who think it’s funny to refer to grilling on the barbeque as a “burnt offering.” And I love the guy who’s always telling me I’ve got to learn to speak in tongues.

I love you all with my whole heart—you diverse, crazy bunch of weirdos.

-Seth Macgilivary

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