And yet - and yet people decide to join the church daily. The choice to "pick up our cross and follow Christ" has been made by millions, making it the largest movement in history. Certainly these people did not join because they thought it would be easy.
There is, of course, one thing that is easy. That is the freedom from the endless struggle against sin and death that Christ brings to us by his life, death, and resurrection. This incredible gift is part of what brings us to Christ.
Have you noticed it? The deep desire of those in the church to learn to truly live in the life Christ gives to us? This is not an easy path, but without doubt we long for it. I read some words this week by Reuben Welch which seemed pertinent to the church of our age:
I may be exaggerating slightly,
but I perceive that some of these words
like sanctification and holiness and redemption,
which at one time were profoundly relevant,
which were precious and beautiful
have, for many people, lost their luster
and much of their beauty and
Do I make myself clear?
Some of these precious words -- these life-words--
at one time had juice in them;
they had stuff in them;
they connoted things;
they denoted things;
they were glorious words;
they were magnetic words.
But, for many, they have lost something:
the juice has dried up;
and they have become technical terms,
and maybe shibboleths.
... At the same time, I see something else
going on in the world where I live.
While some of the old terms have
lost their luster,
I perceive there is
a growing, deep-heart
hunger to be holy!
I believe that with all my soul!
Maybe this is the hunger to which
all other hungers are related.
Maybe this fundamental hunger to be holy
is that God-shaped vacuum
in the heart of every person.
And, oddly enough,though that hunger persists,
it is seldom expressed.
I don't know if we can find
that would help us.
but I know that there is within us
a hunger to be holy.
And I know that the heart-hunger
of our Lord for His Church
is that the people of God
be sanctified and
made meet for the Master's use.
Not surprisingly, this hunger for holiness of which Welch speaks in us is nothing new in the history of the human race. Yet it must be addressed anew in each generation, even in each local church.
In what ways have you seen this deep longing in your own life and church?
|photo credit laprimadona|