Thanksgiving, Day Five

The Church

I am not theologically versed when it comes to the Church.

But I know her. The Scripture, it calls the Church the Bride of Christ, and she and I are good friends. She has been, to me, a place of sanctification, of safety, of soul rending and soul mending.

She and I have spent a lifetime of Sunday mornings services, small group meetings, praise & worship practices, summer camps, service projects, and even much of my schooling, together.

She is not perfect, so far from perfect; but she is redeemed and she is worth fighting for. 

I spent four years pointing out her hypocrisy & apathy before I heard the Holy Spirit whisper that it was to be my calling to love the church, not despise her. 

For when has true change, the good kind that grows from the roots up, that produces life, when has that ever stemmed from hate, or anger, or judgment, or criticism? 

And we must be heartbroken, not calloused, when Christ is missed because of the Church's brokenness. Isn't that her purpose - to show Christ to the world while she waits for Him to return? And if the church is missing her purpose, it follows that we are missing ours?

Because we are the Church.

The more I learn how to love the Church, the safer I find her to be. The more I fight for her to be ready for Christ, the more I see her as Christ does. 

I am thankful for the Church because it is through her that I have experienced the deep and abiding love of Christ. 
I am thankful for the Church because it is through her that I have known forgiveness and poured myself out to forgive. 
I am thankful for the Church because through her and by the power of Christ, I have seen more lives - including my own - transformed by mercy and grace than I have seen lives shattered.

I have hope for the Church, and I am thankful for that. 

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