Experiencing the Church after Church Hurt


I was a blindsided this week by some unexpectedly painful stuff. Nothing earth shattering, or really even that profound—just something that knocked me off balance for a couple days.

While sharing this burden with a friend, she began to speak truth over me and bless what I’ve been given to steward. She dropped her Friday afternoon for a moment to remind me that I specifically am deeply loved and being invited more intimately into belonging with the one who loves more deeply than we can handle.

I live in a city filled with beautiful churches of various ages—quite remarkable for a town this small. And while walking among these buildings, it was a physical reminder of what I had tasted that afternoon on the phone with my friend: the Church.

You stick around the Church long enough, and you’re going to get hurt. It’s a side-effect of broken people trying to do unbroken things of their own accord—it doesn’t pan out well. Wait five minutes, and another example will drop on twitter—trust me. And this isn’t to negate those stories of deep hurt and abuse and oppression and sorrow. Not at all. I see you and I drink deeply in that communion with you. But also, that is not what the Church is to be,

The Church is a body of people committed to the love of Christ. The sacramental collection of the last, little, least, lost and dead to borrow words from my dear Robert Farrar Capon. And in this communion of the redeemed, we get to find a belonging. This was the beautiful and necessary reminder my friend got to speak into me. This is the sanctuary she got to pitch for me in the wilderness.

I pray you find Church in the sense that you find people to remind you to whom you belong—both in the depth of Christ and the breadth of his body. It is a great honor we get to remind one another of this. It’s a great honor to get to be reminded.

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