I know it is popular now for Christians to criticize the church…sadly has been so for a number of years. Oddly enough, I seldom recognize the thing that the self-appointed prophets so readily berate. What they describe has never been my experience.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not naive. Jesus told us that the enemy sowed bad seed in his field the day after he planted it. He also told us that there would be a significant period of time when distinguishing the good seed from the weeds would be well nigh impossible. Such is life in this still broken world where the enemy still seeks people to devour. But at the moment I’m not really interested in all the theological discussion about the current incomplete state of the church. Instead I want to write my Thanksgiving post…and share my deep gratitude for the Church whose love and kindness I have experienced time and again.
Interestingly, it is quite possible that some members of the Church I’ve experienced aren’t quite certain that the other members are part of the Church…but that is OK. As far as I can tell, each has shown me by fruit just what the Church looks like.
Let me start with today. We are remodeling an old building to make it our home. I put out a simple request for help with a few hours of work…didn’t even think about today was football rivalry day. Yet here, in the South, people came to help for a few hours during the midst of rivalry games…checking scores on phones and working for…for what, friendship. Maybe, but how deep does friendship go? Some of the helpers were family and close friends, but some are simply church family who I talk with on Sundays…not much deeper than that. But they came to help however they could.
This is not the only time, and they are not the only ones.
Do you realize how valuable hours are? I do. I am absolutely blown away by the generosity. Just off the top of my head I can account for about 7 work days involving over 20 different people (not including family) who received nothing from me but gratitude. And the one commonality–they were the Church. Not just my church. They actually come from about seven different churches.
Then there are those who have given us financial help, sometimes we have asked for it, sometimes not. Sometimes it was “small” and others huge. Again the givers were from various backgrounds, but all Church.
And I’m not the only person they do it for. I have seen giving and serving, “unrewarded” and sometimes un-noticed and un-thanked, time and again. Repeatedly the commonality was Church.
The people of this Church are Anglican, Charismatics, Pentecostals, Orthodox, Catholic, and non-Denominational…and those are just the ones that have blessed my life.
So, if you ever find yourself confronted by something I say contrary to an attack on the Church, realize that She has been a spiritual mother to me. She is not perfect, but She is full of grace and filled with gracious people. She is the Bride of our Lord.
And this Thanksgiving I felt I should say that I am truly thankful for her.