When we think of church what do we think of? Immediately my mind goes to stained glass, windows, a steeple, and heavy double doors out front. I’m not necessarily thinking of my church (we meet in a Middle School), but when I think of a church that’s usually what I picture. Ask most preschool students to draw a church, and they’ll come up with something similar. It’s accurate, right? Church is the building we talk about God on Sundays. That is very true, but it is so much more.
Loving the church is the stepping-stone to loving others. Now, when I say loving the church, I obviously don’t mean loving the building. I mean loving the people that happen to meet inside of it.
Many of you may be feeling, right about now, like you have no more energy to involve yourself in church. You may be involved in children’s ministry, or worship, or serving coffee in between services. You’re fried of all energy. You’re already loving the church with all you have, what more can you do?
The good news is that the kind of love that I want to talk about, involves letting go, as opposed to taking on more responsibilities.
Sometimes, we want to have it all together. We want to be able to open our arms to the broken, and let them know that we can take care of them because we pretty much have it all together on our end. We just want to be happy and joyous, so others can feel Christ’s love and peace. We don’t want our own baggage to be hanging from the eves of the chapel. Well, my friends, airing out our own baggage is a pretty important step.
I’ve been thinking about vulnerability a lot lately. I’ve been listening to Christmas music for the last couple of weeks, many of the songs describing a helpless little child lying in a manger, wrapped in a tattered shawl; the epitome of helplessness and vulnerability. I keep imagining that night so many years ago. The King of Kings gasping for His first breath, fully reliant on his mother to feed and change Him. He is helpless in every sense of the word. Why did God choose to send His only son to earth in such a vulnerable state? Over and over a phrase keeps repeating itself in my head, “vulnerability is the key”.
Vulnerability is so important. After all, the Savior of the world began it all in a state of incredible vulnerability. Must not all journeys of healing begin the same way? I have a journey of healing about a million times a day. And sometimes I am on two or three healing journeys at once. And that’s okay. We don’t need to hide behind something else in order to shine the glory of God. We don’t have to be perfect to show His perfect love; In fact, the messier the better. 2 Corinthians 12:9 says,
And He said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly in my weakness, so that Christ’s power may rest upon me. 2 Corinthians 12:9 NIV
Now what does this have to do with loving the church? Everything! The vulnerability that we have with each other in the church is key. That’s where it all begins. We need to be living in vulnerability with each other, sharing the hard things, and questioning things. We need to just be purely human with each other. Let go of all the expectations we put on ourselves to have it all together, that we have to be happy and cheery constantly to show Christ’s love to others. You know what really shows God’s love the best? A broken human being, clinging to Jesus, trusting His goodness through it all.
How do we love the church? It’s by letting God work through our humanness. It’s about sharing our deepest selves with others. It’s about being helpless and vulnerable, as that precious baby in the manger, relying only on God for our strength and our worth.