Never Lose the Wonder
In one of her radio programs, Nancy mentioned a contest for the best essay on the subject "What's wrong with the church?" The prize was won by a man from Wales who gave this answer: "What's wrong with the church is our failure to realize and wonder at the beauty, the mystery, the glory, and the greatness of the church."
Oh to love and cherish God's church the way He does as described in Ephesians 5:
"Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish.… He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body" (vv. 25–30, emphasis added).
A few months ago I spent a couple of weeks in China, where it is illegal to meet together as a church. And yet the believers there risk their lives to meet in secret in apartment buildings and restaurants. It was amazing to catch a glimpse of the hunger of some of our brothers and sisters around the world who would give their lives in order to read a paragraph of Scripture or worship God out loud with fellow believers.
It reminds me of this beautiful paragraph by Dietrich Bonhoeffer, a renowned Christian minister and professor of an underground seminary during the Nazi years in Germany:
"The prisoner, the sick person, the Christian in exile sees in the companionship of a fellow Christian a physical sign of the gracious presence of the triune God.… It is true, of course, that what is an unspeakable gift of God for the lonely individual is easily disregarded and trodden under foot by those who have the gift every day.… Therefore, let him who until now has had the privilege of living a common Christian life with other Christians praise God's grace from the bottom of his heart. Let him thank God on his knees and declare: It is grace, nothing but grace, that we are allowed to live in community with Christian brethren."*
What do you think? How do we keep from losing the wonder of belonging to Christ's universal—and local—church?
*Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community, published by HarperSanFransisco, copyright 1954.