‘A Church for Enemies’

_John 15

“I am the vine; you are the branches. If you remain in me and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.”

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The sign that stood in front of a church building carried the name of the congregation and this slogan: ‘A Church for Families‘. I took it to mean that families are welcome there. That appeared to be the target market, as we say. But are families more welcome than say, the elderly or single people? Or maybe the slogan was referring to a kind of familial closeness that exists there. That might be OK but if a certain level of intimacy is expected of church members, what about those for whom familial intimacy and affection are problematic for a host of understandable reasons? 

Close, interpersonal relationships are among the highest values in any society. Human affection is capable of monumental things, to be sure. Direct affection can be powerful and the basis for real friendship, care, even a certain degree of healing. At the same time being a ‘family church’ may mean nothing more than a bunch of friendly folks have settled on a comfortable status quo and are happy to leave it at that. Human affection is a lousy basis for Christian community. In fact, it is no basis at all.

Let me suggest an alternative slogan. How about this;  ‘A Church for Enemies‘.  ‘Gasp!  You can’t be serious!’ Well, actually I’m not and neither are you…when it comes to loving enemies that is. And neither are churches whose deepest roots are family values and deep, human intimacy and relationships. That’s why it’s such an awesome slogan. It points beyond us to a love greater and more enduring than ours. It points to the love of Jesus who gave His life on the cross for people who through their sinfulness reveal themselves to be enemies of innocence, righteousness and holiness, unworthy of being a part of God’s family, people who apart from Him are do nothings – people like you and me.

 

“May the peace of God that passes all understanding keep your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus our Lord.”

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From Pastor Mark Anderson’s Daily Devotional blog site

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2 Responses

  1. Interesting perspective Steve. Would be interesting to see how it would go over though.

  2. Knowing us (humans), Bill, it probably wouldn’t go over too well.

    We have a much higher opinion of ourselves than we are shown in Scripture, and what is presented to ourselves daily in the mirror.

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