The house that God builds, God’s plan A
Why would anyone join or become active in a church? The people who go to church are full of flaws, they are hypocritical, they can argue about things that don’t matter, and even be mean. Of course you can say the same thing about any organization that allows humans to join. In spite of all the flaws in the church, it is still the body of Christ (I Corinthians 12) that God has chosen to be Christ’s presence in each community around the world, and spread the Good News that Jesus is Lord and Savior of all. “I call it God’s Plan A.” There is no “Plan B.”
When one considers how different the gathering of people are that make up any church it is indeed a miracle of God that every church doesn’t spin out of control and disintegrate in a few months. Quite the opposite is true. The church is the one community organization that everyone expects to hold meaningful worship each week, provide needed spiritual and moral guidance for children and adults, provide for the needy, and bring moral guidance to our community. And miraculously with all the flawed people a church has to work with, most churches do this quite well.
It is because when we become active in a church we come in line with God’s spiritual plan for our lives. We read in I Peter 2:4-5, “Come to him, a living stone, though rejected by mortals yet chosen and precious in God’s sight, and like living stones, let yourselves be built into a spiritual house, to be a holy priesthood, to offer spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.”
God wants everyone to be a part of one of His building projects. In so doing we allow God to build us up as well that we might become more holy, and be used better to serve others. The cornerstone of this great building project is Jesus Christ. His stone has been struck by the hammer of death, and he was rejected 2000 years ago, as he is rejected by too many today. But by the power of God that stone has been made chosen and precious by the resurrection from the dead.
God wants to take each of us and build us into His church. We are living stones being built into a spiritual house when we worship Him each week with a spiritual family, when we receive God’s forgiveness and share it with others, when we serve others in need both in the church and outside the church. Our days as living stones never end, even if we think our days of giving are over. I have been ministered to more by the dying than I have ministered to them as I have learned from their wise insights about life. I have asked elderly people to be prayer warriors, knowing full well the power of prayer.
The very young minister to us with their innocence and honesty, and they help to keep us young. We have a little girl in our church who loves to dance. It doesn’t matter if it is a great hymn of the church, praise song, or a song we don’t know and are singing very badly. She can’t keep still, so she has her place in the front to one side, and dances to Jesus with all her heart. Our congregation of Presbyterians is not always comfortable with dancing during worship, but our little girl melts our hearts, makes every song and hymn better, and glorifies God with each movement. It is beautiful.
The house that God builds has plenty of flaws if that is what you want to focus on. For all of the living stones are works in progress, and some are more flawed than others. It also is a spiritual family that brings endless joys to your life. The key is the mortar to hold the stones together. What mortar will we use? God tells us that the best mortar for building a spiritual house is love (I Corinthians 13). The curious thing about this mortar is that it is not something that you can go to the church and simply receive. You have to give some love as well, so that there is plenty of mortar to hold the church together. One thing each of us will surely find is the more love we share the fewer flaws we will notice in the people around us.
When was the last time you went to church to give love and service rather than receive something? Have you given up on God’s church for all the wrong reasons? Do you have a church story so horrible that you cannot ever forgive God’s church? What does that say about the power of forgiveness in your life?
To find out more about Al Earley or read previous articles see, www.lagrangepres.com.