Monday, October 20, 2008

Believing in the Church...

I get a daily Henri Nouwen meditation arrive in my email inbox -usually always helpful. This was yesterday's and while it wasn't totally for me yesterday it was for some friends today.

Our faith in God who sent his Son to become God-with-us and who, with his Son, sent his Spirit to become God-within-us cannot be real without our faith in the Church. The Church is that unlikely body of people through whom God chooses to reveal God's love for us. Just as it seems unlikely to us that God chose to become human in a young girl living in a small, not very respected town in the Middle East nearly two thousand years ago, it seems unlikely that God chose to continue his work of salvation in a community of people constantly torn apart by arguments, prejudices, authority conflicts, and power games.

Still, believing in Jesus and believing in the Church are two sides of one faith. It is unlikely but divine!

1 comment:

Eleanor Burne-Jones said...

I love this quote, and have used it leading a retreat. I think the crux issue is that belief, and ongoing faith is required of us to believe God is present and working both in the larger scales of the body of Christ, all the way down to the beleaguered individuals who transition in, out and around in it in various forms of crisis.

Even when someone is feeling utterly isolated in a church crisis and facing that sense of free fall, or being adrift, that comes with uncertain transitions or increasing psychological distance, there is also a deep need to have faith, and for those people around that individual to have faith that God is also working in that wilderness they are experiencing.

Perhaps a place to begin in moments Henri might identify as 'unbelief' is to ask how can I move from a reactive response that shouts 'this is about who I am, this is about everything that has meaning to me' to one that is reflective, and that sings out 'this is about bringing God glory, about reflecting who he is' in order to be able to respond in a way grounded deeply in wisdom and faith.