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The Bride of Christ
"What keeps you awake at night?" We'd finished our breakfast and
were nursing our coffee when our leader asked the question. My answer was
reflex, "That the Bride of Christ isn't a very good mother." A couple of
other people answered, then our leader pried deeper, "What do you mean
that the church isn't a good mother."
Before answering him, I thought about how restless the previous evening
was. I didn't sleep well because of two answers to a simple question.
During casual conversation, "Brenda" mentioned that she'd had a tough
year--her house burned to the ground. I didn't even know if Brenda was
involved in a church when I asked the question, "How did your church respond?"
I saw it as a ground breaking question that could lead to a witnessing
opportunity. "They didn't do anything. My kid's boy scout troop did more
for us than they did. We're looking for another church."
Later that afternoon, "Alex" shared with me the details of his painful
marriage and inevitable divorce. As he was wrapping up his monologue, I
interrupted with my question, "How did your church respond?" He flinched,
looked away, and continued talking without acknowledging my question. His
words were slow and disjointed--it was as if I'd just hit him with McGwire's
baseball bat. When he finished talking, I said, "I'm sorry, you know the
church doesn't handle divorce very well." That's all I could say.
I told the group of pastors about the events from the previous day,
and said, "A mother would provide for a child whose house burned down and
would unconditionally love a son who went through a divorce. The church
may be the bride of Christ, but she isn't a very good mother to her children."
How can God look at His church and see a beautiful, spotless bride when
we so often fail one another?
Grace, that's how, God's grace transforms a sinful organization into
a dazzling organism. And He allows me and you to be a part of it.