"...Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many." (1 Corinthians 12:14 NIV)
When you think of church, what do you see in your mind? What does the word "church" make you think of? For as many people reading this, there will be that many different explanations of what "church" means.
In 1 Corinthians, Paul talks about his vision of the church. Many people living in community together with all things in common as the body of Christ. He compares this body of Christ to the human body...made up of many different parts with many different purposes all working together to cause the body to live, breathe and work. All the parts have to work together, but they are not all doing the same thing.
I believe that we forget that part...that we don't all have to be doing the same thing. We want everyone to be doing what we are doing...or better still...we want to be doing what others are doing so we don't feel different or left out. We get angry, frustrated and bitter when other members of the body need or want to do something different than what we are doing. That anger, frustration and bitterness comes from our wounded hearts.
We have all been wounded. Every one of us has had our heart broken to some degree, and we carry that brokenness around with us wherever we go.
When Jesus begins his ministry, he quotes Isaiah.
"The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners, to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor and the day of vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion—to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes, the oil of joy instead of mourning,
and a garment of praise instead of a spirit of despair. They will be called oaks of righteousness, a planting of the Lord for the display of his splendor." (Isaiah 61:1-3 NIV)
Jesus is offering freedom, healing, comfort and joy to all who need it, including you and me. He is knocking on the door of our hearts...all we have to do is open the door and let him in. The problem is, many times our wounds are locked up tight in the deep chambers of our heart and we don't even know they are there. But, Jesus does know. He knows where, why, and how to heal us, we just have to ask him to.
How do we learn how to ask him? How do we learn there is a Savior named Jesus who is there waiting and willing to heal our wounded hearts? By turning to the body of Christ...the church.
THAT is why it is so important for us, as the church, to constantly be in prayer, keeping our own hearts healed through Christ. So many different people with different talents, gifts and yes, hurts, make up that body of Christ. If we do not keep asking God to allow Christ to heal and re-heal our hearts, those wounds get deeper. Anger, frustration and bitterness set in and we are no longer able to show others the way to Christ's healing love.
When many people think of the word "church" they think of judgement, bigotry and hypocrites. Many people have gone to church looking for healing and have left more hurt than when they came in. I bet this makes God very sad. Our churches, whatever denomination or affiliation, should be loving, caring, open places...showing each person walking through the door the way to allow Jesus to heal their wounded hearts.
"But if we are the body
Why aren't His arms reaching?
Why aren't His hands healing?
Why aren't His words teaching?
And if we are the body
Why aren't His feet going?
Why is His love not showing them there is a way?
There is a way"
(Casting Crowns song)