I have this overwhelming sense that modern-day church, with all it’s mod-cons, outreach programs, events and great capacity and gifting to bring in those who are seeking are increasingly longing for the deeper things… or maybe it’s just me?
Many leaders who have done a great job of leading their congregation to DO church on the weekend are longing to see their flock reach into the deeper things of Christ and BE the church. If I can draw a parallel to a preparing bride – many have done a great job of ironing the wrinkles from the dress, but found that they were so busy ironing that they skipped lunch and are hungry on the inside. And to this I say, “That’s great! What a time to be part of the church globally!”
We see this hunger in the great interest in the Christian and Catholic mystics of old and a return to many of the great hymns that have been transformational since the day they were written. Books, songs, Hebrew lessons, guided tours to the middle east; the church is going deeper into it’s heritage to see where it came from and draw on the riches that brought it to where it is today. I love it.
As many of the church movements and denominations look back several hundred years and beyond the conception of their denominational beginnings they are shocked to find the most amazing, deep, engaged, spirit-filled forefathers and mothers who came from a diverse church background. (e.g. Check out http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Columba, an Irish Saint 521 AD who raised the dead, calmed storms and performed agricultural miracles.) It’s like the bride is opening the books of her genealogy and realising how very-much-connected she really is.
Personally, I found myself born-again into a pentecostal church which was not more than 100 years old. Looking for identity and attachment I felt I had to push away many associations to things to prove to myself that I’m right and others are wrong. I mean, who wants to be wrong? Typical of a younger generation trying to carve out an identity I had pushed away and arrogantly ignored other church denominations as “Old and wrong”. How wrong was I?! I’m blessed now to know better, having repented of my arrogance and got over myself, I now have the honour of spending time with, praying alongside and moving forward with believers from a huge variety of church background – and I’ve never felt more positive and looking forward to the day when the church chooses UNITY over UNIFORMITY. It’s happening and it’s seriously amazing.
Is the non-denominational church the answer? No, I don’t think so, that would rob the bride of her culture, heritage, gifts and diversity. Unity is the answer. Almost a non-dualistic approach to our very self as the body of Christ.
I’ll leave you thinking about this: In OT biblical times the high priest wore a breastplate of 12 stones representing the 12 tribes into the holy of holies. He had to enter the presence of God dressed in diversity. He belonged to his tribe but went in aware and covered by the other 12 tribes. Could it be that if we want to discover more of God we need to discover more of each other? Could it be that God is waiting for those with all 12 stones on their breastplate to truly enter into a new era and walk in unspeakable favour?