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Sunday, May 25, 2014

Church--Broken yet Beutiful

A portion of “Stain Glass Masquerade” by Casting Crowns

“Am I the only one who's traded in the altar for a stage?
The performance is convincing and we know every line by heart…
Only when no one is watching can we really fall apart.

But would it set me free, If I dared to let you see,
The truth behind the person that you imagine me to be?
Would your arms be open?  Or would you walk away?
Would the love of Jesus be enough to make you stay?

Are we happy plastic people, under shiny plastic steeples,
With walls around our weakness and smiles to hide our pain?
But if the invitation's open to every heart that has been broken,
Maybe then we close the curtain on our stained glass masquerade.”
Why try to rewrite what someone before has already done so beautifully?  

I had the wonderful blessing and privilege of growing up in a church going family.  I had parents, aunts and uncles who were all involved in the ministry of that church.  It was a great privilege, indeed.  But as for me personally, though I grew up in the culture, I treated it more as religion and ritual than I did a relationship with a living God.  I grew up being known as the “good” girl or goody-two-shoe type.  I knew the right things to say and I knew when not to say the wrong things.  I served in ministry teams.  I put my smile on Sunday and knew to not show the bad sides.  Generally speaking, I wore nicer clothes (rather than super casual) and sneered at those who would openly swear or mock at church.  How dare they….don’t they know, this is a church?  My self-righteousness ran high, even though I innately had none to claim.  I was just like them on any other day.

That began to change right about the time I turned 18.  The head knowledge I had been storing away for the final test day, finally sunk down to my heart and paved a way for God’s grace to pour over my sin and shame and His Spirit has been showing me how to do the same.  I relish the opportunity to visit churches who wear their hearts on their sleeves.  That you walk in and can tell these people inside….they are broken people, coming to the altar for forgiveness, guidance and strength to face another day.  

And maybe that’s because that’s what church is.  Church is not a physical building.  Church is being present with God and that happens everywhere.  When Jesus was living and breathing, He was church on the move, teaching the masses that followed.  But now, we the church are his called out body (Eph. 1:22-23) seeking to serve him and our physical body is the temple of His Holy Spirit (1 Cor. 6:19-20).  People may refuse to come to a building with a steeple or with a sign that says “church” on the front, but we, the church, can meet them where they are at and love them like He loves us.

And how does He love us?
With an everlasting love….ever forgiving….ever gracious….accepting us where we are but helping us become who we can become in Him. 

Church is not a building. It’s not a time slot. It’s not Sunday.  It’s not suits and dresses.  It’s not perfect.

It’s us.  Broken yet beautiful. 

Until next time,
In Christ,
Joy Lynn

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