My Musings – The above quote from Jesus follows immediately after Peter’s great confession to Jesus’ inquiry ““who do you say I am?” Peter replied, “you are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16, NIV 1984). Most of the focus on this verse is on what Jesus meant by “this rock.” Did he mean Peter? Was He referring to Himself? Or is the rock Peter’s confession that Jesus is the Messiah? Learned theologians cannot agree on this, so I am sure I cannot shed any light on it. But what I want to focus on in today’s musing is “My Church.”
“My Church.” There is no mistaking whose Church it is. But today, many within the Church want to wrest control from Jesus and make it (keep it) their Church. They want the worship style to be this way or that. The time of the service must start no earlier (or later) than this time or that time. The preacher must not speak any longer than… Well, you get the picture.
Now today, the Church is under increasing criticism, if not downright persecution. With the increasing influence of secular humanism, relative morality, and it’s “my” view or no view in our schools, in the media and society in general, we (the Church) are in danger of losing the “next generation.” While there are many things worth “fighting” for in the Church, the above mentioned “non-negotiables” (style, time, length) don’t make the list.
If the Church loses the next generation, where will the Church be? God will always have His remnant, but how big will that remnant be? Are we really so vested in the way it’s always been done that we risk that loss? Are we so insistent that it be “my” Church to such an extent that we have no one to pass it on to? Now I am not saying we water-down the Gospel to Christianity lite. There are certain things that are non-negotiable, and we know what those are.
My 85 year old mom understood this. “Her” Church (the one I grew up in and accepted Christ) was in decline. It was literally dying off. Either the lampstand’s light would go out or it needed new oil. That’s why they voted to become a “satellite” Church of a much larger congregation in a larger town. And this brought a lot of changes. Most of which involved those sacred items (style, time and length). The unadulterated proclamation of the Gospel was not one of the changes. And in the final analysis, that is what really matters – that the Truth continues to be proclaimed.
While my mom has her own ideas and preferences of what she would like worship services to be, she understood. She embraced the changes and became one of the leading “cheerleaders” for the Church she knew was not hers, but His. Her name is not Gladys (its Roberta), and she cannot jam on the electric guitar, but she knows “a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit and truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in spirit and in truth.” (John 4:23-24).
My Advice – Always remember, and never forget, it’s His Church. He wants to build it, not see us tear it down over things that really do not matter.
Here are a couple snapshots of my 85 years young mom: on her knees on the floor showing me how to fix her vacuum and snow blowing her sidewalks (plans to give that up this year).