The Church conjures images of all kinds for all people. For some, it’s patent leather Sunday shoes, men in white robes, cold church pews, or stained glass windows. It’s the stale coffee in styrofoam cups, awkward hand shakes of “peace be with you,” and casseroles at a Baptist picnic. For some, the church is a source of trauma, rejection, and shame, the very opposite experience of Jesus loves me, this I know.
What if the church, as we know it today, lost its mission somewhere in the last 2,000 years? The image of the church looks radically different when it proclaims the simple message that Christ created for her: God is great (powerful) and God is good (loving).
What if God’s people didn’t hide their suffering or brokenness and instead acknowledged that a life of faith includes false starts, failures, and doubts?
What if “Holy ground” meant seedy alleyways dotted with hypodermic needles, country roads clouded by the thick dust of impoverished farmers, and tent cities hidden behind Walmarts that are home to illegal immigrants?
What if the path to faith is dark, paved with thick tangled branches and the fire of hell? What if a stranger is there as a gentle guide, carrying a bucket of water to dampen the flames, with an encouraging word that says, “just keep going”?
This is the story of one church of imperfect people, deeply rooted in their identity of faith, Christ commissioned to love a broken, dying world, carrying each others’ burdens with holy hands and embracing one another as witnesses to everyday miracles. This is the Church that Christ called his “bride,” the one he thought of on a hill in Jerusalem while wearing a blood stained crown of thorns. This is what he meant when he said, “Your love for one another will prove to the world that you are my disciples.” (John 13:35)
Welcome to the Family of God, where sinners become saints, orphans are called “beloved,” and everyone is offered a seat at the table.