Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A MOST BEAUTIFUL PLACE

Ephesians 1:3
Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ.  NIV

One of the purposes of Paul's letter to the Ephesians was to reveal the "mystery" of the church.  In somewhat simplistic terms, the church's purpose was (is) to reveal and express the fullness of Christ here on earth, doing so by uniting all believers no matter our race, gender or background and to equip us to extend Christ's victory over evil.  To further simplify, we are to show Jesus to the world so that they may know Him, too.  Now, I've had my issues with the church.  It hasn't always been kind to me (at least in my estimation).  And I can tell you this: it's a messy place -- full of baggage and despair and disappointment and even hypocrites.  The church falls short many times in showing the world the love of Jesus.  But, I can also tell you that the church is beautiful because of all of those same things.  It's those within the church that are broken and know it that define it's beauty.  It is beautiful by virtue of the fact that it is the Body of Christ.  And, it is in His body that my healing is found.  "But he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed." (Isaiah 53:5, NIV)

Paul is telling the Ephesians in this verse that our God, the same God who sent His Son, the same God who paid our redemption, the same God who saw fit to tie His name to us,  has also blessed us with spiritual blessings.  And, those blessings are ours here and now.  He's not talking about material blessings here.  He's talking about the blessings of adoption, forgiveness and being chosen.  Friends, wrap your mind around this!  You have been adopted and brought in to this most sacred union between Father and Son!  You have been forgiven of your past and chosen to live and dwell and walk among those who are called "redeemed!"  Don't get me wrong.  This is NOT an elitist group in the sense that it's difficult to be brought in.  On the contrary, it couldn't be more easy to be included.  However, it is an elitist group in the sense that you can ONLY be brought in one way and one way only: through the blood of Jesus who paid your way in. (John 14:6, Ephesians 1:7)

If you consider yourself a believer then you are a part of the Body of Christ.  And, if that be so, then you must find your place among a body of believers.  You will never function at your best as a believer apart from it -- this is a lesson I've had to learn.  Yes, the church is messy.  Yes, it's not always as kind as it should be.  But . . . Hello! Neither am I and neither are you, but, therein lies the mystery.  It's people just like you and me that make up this most precarious and beautiful place.  It's people like you and me that God has chosen to bless with "every spiritual blessing."  (Even as I write that I cannot fully grasp the weight of what I'm saying.)  I'm a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ and therefore one of the redeemed.  Like a piece of a puzzle Christ's Body is where I fit.  I do not fit anywhere else.

Blessed,
Kerry

3 comments:

Sweet J said...

"It's those within the church that are broken and know it that define it's beauty. It is beautiful by virtue of the fact that it is the Body of Christ. And, it is in His body that my healing is found."

Great word, thanks! I needed to hear that today.

ragamuffin jim said...

Kerry,

I appreciate this post. Some of us forget that we are all members if the body of Christ.

Many of us, myself included, were not treated unkindly by the church but were abused physically, sexually and emotionally by people claiming to work for God. These circumstances led (and still lead) many of us to conclude that the church has nothing to offer us and is furthermore an unsafe environment.

It's hard for many of us to participate fully in the church. Our pasts keep rearing up their ugly heads and we feel dirty, unworthy and angry. It seems no matter how much therapy and love we get that the past events come back up.

I recently made a mistake and did it publicly. What I did was wrong and I shouldn't have done it but some people from a couple of churches I attended in the past were sure to point out my mistake and they didn't do it in a loving manner. They were more concerned with my rules violation than what might have triggered my error. Did I deserve correction? Yes, I did but the manner in which they verbally assaulted me made me feel like that scared little kid again.

I don't know why I'm filling up your space here. I think that your post reminded me that church is more than the memories that I have of it. Thank you for jogging the memory banks a little.

Jim

Anonymous said...

This couldn't be more full of grace!! I am going to print it out (if I can) and reread often and to my kids too. Beautiful insight Kerry! Cristen Wheeler