It has become popular these days to hate the church, and that sentiment is not limited to the anti-theists. More and more I hear the same vitriol coming from Christians. That concerns me. But what concerns me more is what the Lord thinks of the church.
I am sure that Jesus is grieved when he looks out upon the church today, especially in America. It has lost its way. Some of us have substituted politics for prayer. Others have created great extravaganzas that seem like TV awards shows that elevate the most popular speakers and performers rather than Jesus. Others have withered to cliques or clubs of sour saints. Surely Jesus must be in tears. But.
But that is not the whole story. I also see churches who are vibrant and alive, who are reaching families with the message of Jesus, helping them become transformed through the word of God, the power of the Holy Spirit, and the encouragement and fellowship of saints who are themselves on this journey. I see new churches being birthed who are reaching new generations of young people. I see believers struggling with the challenge of incarnational ministry to a fast changing culture - and succeeding. I see men and women giving themselves to serve the poor and defeated in our society and carrying the healing touch of Jesus to the far corners of the world.
I see churches who enjoy wonderful partnership in those acts of service and incredible joy in worship together. I see churches alive with the life of Jesus and being transformed into his image.
Most of all I see a people whom the Lord loves and for whom he has given his life. I see his tears, but I also see his joy in he outcome. And that is why I love the church; I love it because he does.