The overflowing love and grace of God radically renews the community of the covenant. The church that has been purchased with Christ’s blood cannot ask ‘Who is my neighbour?’ with a view to limiting the circle of those to whom the love of compassion must be shown. Yet the love that reaches out in Christ’s name to the lost does not deny the reality of their lostness. It calls men to enter the fellowship where the love of God is shed abroad in our hearts, but the bond of that love can be forged only in union with Christ.” – ‘A Biblical-Theology of the Church’ by Edmund P. Clowney

The church ought to be more than this“, you’ve said these words just like I have. The reality is that the gospel is always better than us. Its always better than the people gathered together on Sunday morning, so if you stop and look around during service and say to yourself, “this is all a cheap show, we all go our separate ways and hardly ever meet, I don’t even know the ‘church’ that meets at the first service.”, you’re not losing your mind. BUT, you may be missing the point of the church, we worship the one who’s brought you and I together, not because we have the perfect community, not because there isn’t real distance between us at times but because in Christ we know that beyond our superficiality we are spiritually united together.

The church is a mess…its always been a mess since the fall…

Relationships are a mess…they’ve always been a mess since the fall…

There is a lostness in our community that needs Christ as much as the lostness of the world around us, the solution isn’t to abandon the church or to reinvent it and throw stones at the old edifice. The solution is to use the means of grace God has given us: the sacraments, prayer, scripture, worship, one-another’s spiritual gifts; and start laboring to make a name for Christ in the quality of our fellowship with one-another.

Clowney’s quote is a wonderful summary of what the Church is, of how its to share its love with the world, and the way its to remind the world of its lostness. If we find ourselves either discarding the church because of hypocrisy or limiting who we love in the world because of selfishness with our social vulnerability we’ve begun to live life like orphans without Christ. The church may be a mess and loving the world may be dangerous, but the gospel doesn’t let us off the hook of either of these calls. As Eugene Peterson says, discipleship is a road of long obedience!

Discipleship is costly…its always been costly…

Love is taxing…its always been taxing…

YET the church, relationships, discipleship, and love are what we’ve been purchased by Christ for. May his bond of love continue to be forged within our midst because of our union with him.