25 July 2009

We need to get back to the way the first century Christians "did church"...

or do we?

I've been known to make the above observation. It just seems like church is something we came up with so we could get brownie points with God for perfect attendance and so we could have one more thing to check off our list of "good things" we do each week. Sometimes I wonder what "they" did back in the first century, because they must have had the perfect church back then, right?

Well, I was listening to the radio this morning and got a new perspective on this. One of the fellows talking brought up the church in Corinth. He pointed out that when Paul first started traveling around preaching he was pretty much kicked out of every town he visited. Corinth was the first place he stayed for a long period of time. Things went well while he was there, but after he left the church sort of fell apart, hence the need for his letter to the Corinthians. And then his second letter. This was when he told the church to appoint bishops and other leaders to keep order and to keep people accountable.

I guess they were just humans like us. Not particularly immune to the things we face. Maybe we aren't supposed to follow the example of a church just because it existed in a time not far removed from Jesus' earthly ministry. After all, it doesn't take any of us long to run our wagons into the ditch if we aren't keeping our eyes on Him and allowing the Holy Spirit to lead us every step of the way.

So...no recipe for a perfect church here. Church (as in the building where we meet) is a place to fellowship, and just learning to get along with all of our imperfect brethren (of which we are one) is a huge learning and growing experience.

You know, going to a perfect church might be kind of like having tons of money in your bank account. It would be too easy to just put up your feet and forget that you need God. What would you need to pray about? I think history will show that when things are too easy we tend to drift away from God and become lazy and self-indulgent. We need some adversity to wake us up and keep us depending on the only One we should ever be depending on.

C.S. Lewis (Jack, to his friends) belonged to the Anglican Church. He didn't think it was perfect. In fact, I think it just happened to be the closest church to his home. But he seemed to feel that we need to get into a church and STAY PUT. If things aren't going well, PRAY. Learn to stick it out and stand by your fellow members. If they're preaching heresy you could leave, but that was about the only excuse, because no matter where you go "something" will come up that will make you want to leave. Hey, life is hard. But that's what makes us grow in our dependence on God. So he (Lewis) stuck it out and faithfully attended his church with its many flaws and fellowshipped with its imperfect flock. Way to go, Jack!

We who ARE the church can only expect perfection from Jesus Himself. If we each concentrate on growing closer to, and becoming more like Him, the fellowship will get better and better.


No comments:

Post a Comment