Jesus talks about the birds of the air gobbling up the seed sown and says they represent the enemy and then in the next parable talks about the Kingdom being like a mustard seed which grows into a big plant and the birds roosting in its branches.
The church is like that plant. We can look and see the evil that sometimes ‘roosts’ in her branches, the residential schools and sexual predators being prime examples. Many are repulsed by the hypocrisy and spiritual abuse. Sometimes I despair, but I am reminded about Jesus’ question to Peter, “Will you also go?” to which Peter replies “Where can I go you have the words of eternal life?” The church is flawed. Evil too often is allowed to roost in her branches. She fails to fully incarnate the beauty of Jesus, in whom there is no sin.
I can get critical of the church, and there is certainly need for a critical appraisal of the organized church, but if I only look for the birds roosting I miss Christ who stands in our midst.
Last Sunday I was in church thinking “I wish we could sing something from this millennium” and “I miss expository preaching.” Beside me sat a friend who has just begun to attend this church. For years she has attended services I have done in evenings and she decided she would like to add morning worship to her routine. My friend suffers from terrible bouts of anxiety. After the service she turned to me and shared how helpful this service was to her mental health. She had experienced the healing Lord in the context of the meeting that had mostly frustrated me. It seems it is mostly a matter of attitude which puts us in the place to be blessed or the place of frustration.
I am not advocating that we ignore the evil that nests yet I think I need to point more to the beauty of Jesus. Those nests hold no hope! Hope is found in Jesus alone and flawed and fallible as she may be, the church (you and me and all who believe) is Christ’s chosen vehicle.
We had some disappointment last week. Our car seriously broke down and we had to postpone our scheduled Roamin’ Holiday. I was a bit worried about how my friends would react but they were wonderful about it. I am hoping that early next week we can make up the trip, though we will probably go to St. Martins rather than Hopewell Rocks. I plan to treat everyone to a bowl of the famous St. Martins Seafood Chowder and explore the cave and the beach.
While our car was out of a commission a friend loaned us her almost brand new car. We were very blessed. When we got our vehicle back we were flagged down by the police and told our inspection sticker had expired in June. The ticket is over $170 but we were given the opportunity to get this fixed right away. Our mechanic friend saw the vehicle that afternoon and we are now perfectly legal. I’m hoping not to see a mechanic for quite a while!
We have a song we often sing at our Home church “God is good! All the time!” Even when evil is right at hand God is good. I’m going to try not to lose perspective.