Foreword: Before writing this I published a social concern essay on the Utilisation of Staff and Volunteers in church life. I received a few brief comments and some very lengthy emails from people who thanked me for writing it because it helped normalise their suffering and struggle. After all, many who’d suffered were not given a voice in the first place. They just ‘did what everyone else did’ and ‘just gave sacrificially to the church’ – both time, money, family and their wellbeing. In light of this, I wanted to continue helping those who have been suffering in silence – because you matter, and deserve to have your heart restored. Brace yourself…
There is a horrific ritual that has been practised for thousands of years across hundreds of cultures called ‘Foundation Sacrifice‘. The research on it is fascinating and disturbing. I dare say, it is still something that occurs today in many organisations and homes – not excluding the CHURCH.
The basic premise behind it is this; Any time a structure was built, it was believed that in order to ward off evil spirits from destroying it, a human would need to be sacrificed in its foundations or walls and their disembodied spirit would go on to defend the structure and the land. Still today, archaeologists find the remains of men, women, children and animals in the foundations of churches, bridges and temples going back thousands of years.
Now if you think about it, to this day people are sacrificed in order to build all kinds of ‘successful’ things. Unborn children are sacrificed to build a happy and convenient life. Families are sacrificed to build companies and organisations. Nations are sacrificed to build other nations. Pastors, leaders and members are sacrificed to build churches.
The reality is, you CAN build something faster and more monumental by sacrificing others – including a church building, structure and bums-on-seats. I can’t speak on God’s behalf in full, but with fear and trembling, I feel Father’s grief as I personally hear of these bloody occurrences today. Not just from members or struggling volunteers, but senior leaders and key team members. How often do we hear of church sacrificing good and caring shepherds on the altar of some kind of ecclesiastical utopianism?
There is a good reason Jesus said HE would build the church. There is a good reason why Jesus was the Lamb slain before the foundation of the world (Rev13:8). There is NO need to sacrifice another. No need to sacrifice leaders for selfish corporate gain. Has not Christ paid the full price?
So may we be a people who live and build from the sure foundation of Christ’s work and resurrection. Knowing that His sacrifice and blood are all sufficient. Knowing that HE is the good and sure foundation. The anchor of our hope and the true cornerstone. May we be a people that understand we are to GIVE a sacrifice, but not BE the sacrifice (to quote Anne Hamilton). May we understand that it is a wise and loving God, not mankind, who best holds the keys to life and death. And may we honor the gift of others and work constructively with one another as LIVING stones – presenting ourselves constantly before God as a LIVING sacrifice.
My Prayer for those sacrificed: Firstly I want to say how sorry I am that you were mistreated and abused in this way. It was not necessary and certainly not loving or honoring. Perhaps you are used to being mistreated in this way and you went voluntarily – perhaps you told yourself it was the noble thing to do. You may have a journey to walk into your true identity and worth in Christ but right now I want to bless you with the knowledge that hope and restoration is available to you through Jesus Christ. So I pray, Father, that you would reach through time and space and restore your child to their rightful place is a LIVING stone. In any way they have been sacrificed at an altar in the foundations of convenience, growth, empire building at the hand of man, I ask Father that as they read this you would lift them out and restore the shattered parts of their hearts to them now. And as you restore them, would you give them strength and hope to live, love forgive and breathe again.
#church #life #healing
P.S. You might like to check out my Out of the Tombs teaching where I expand this topic of church wounding.