The Church: Wounded
Trust is a fragile thing. It is the precious crystal of stone that we place in different abodes, in the hope of it being protected and respected. It is a piece of our hearts, vulnerable and exposed, allowing the place where we lay it down to touch the rawest parts of ourselves.
Trust is a fragile thing. It is easily trampled under foot, until the microscopic shards leave you ripped and bleeding.
Trust is placed in many places and many faces. It may be placed in godly leaders in our lives. We trust their words and leadership. When we trust we often look to them as if that they are the Church, and when trust is broken, all their words come into question. But reality tells us that men are all fallible and the Church is more than its leadership, it is Christ’s flesh and bones, it is the teaching once delivered to the saints. Trust cannot alone be put in godly men and women around us. Trust must be primarily in God, who is infallible, who is our Truth.
But what is our Truth?
Where are we and what do we believe?
In what teaching do we trust, to what Truth do we hold on to?
Our allegiance is not to men and women who teach, but it is to the Word, the only Word that is Truth.
It is not uncommon to bite the hand that feeds us. Truth may feed us for some time, while later, in our pride, we may become our own truth. I recently discovered that I was master of my own ship; was once taught how to sail, then later made up my own way to tread through many waters.
I have seen war, and I have heard rumors of war between leaders amongst the churches. I don’t know politics, but Church is the politics I have been forced to learn. Church is the place I have hurt from, and I have hated, countless times to remember. It is in this place I have witnessed unforgiveness, injustice and anything but grace.
Yet the Church is home to the Spirit of God, the Spirit of Truth. The Truth that outshines any darkness. And in that Truth I realize, it is man whom I have hurt from, I have hated, and I have witnessed unforgettable sights. All the while the Church stood firm, rooted in the teachings it has held for centuries. But often, as a response to my own hurt and frustration, I not only reject the perpetrators, but I reject too the teachings the Church is founded on, as if this will be the soothing ointment to my wounds. Bitterness has never healed a wounded heart, and rejection of Truth only leads us further from the Truth. Out of hurt, it is easy to run, like the unfaithful lover who cannot choose to stay, who cannot choose submission, who cannot choose to fight for Truth. When I reject the Church, I choose a war of emotion and grief instead of love and peace; I run to my own beliefs, separating myself from the community of the church, choosing to look upon the bride of Christ with judgement and condemnation.
“A sect is separation, solitariness, the denial of communality. The sectarian spirit is the direct opposite of the Church spirit.”
-Fr Georges Florovsky
May we cling to the Church, that the Spirit of God who is in her may rid our hearts of a sectarian spirit. For, Truth is not a fragile thing.
Truth is absolute.
So I choose to stop rejecting her. I choose to stop being my own God and making up my own truth. I choose radical obedience to the Truth. I choose to stop running.
This is the Church.
Here there is hurt. Here there is healing.
We need to love her ripped and bleeding.
You ran well. Who hindered you from obeying the truth? This persuasion does not come from Him who calls you. A little leaven leavens the whole lump. I have confidence in you, in the Lord, that you will have no other mind; but he who troubles you shall bear his judgment, whoever he is.
To the hurt,
Please know that healing is not a momentary, glorious event. It is hard, it is long, and it is a process. While these words are truths I believe in, there are days that it still hurts so much and I lose hope, thinking I am right back where I started. Healing is a journey, may we walk this long road together.
Check out Part II