25

Quitting Church

None of us are perfect. Not one.

None of us are Christ and few of us are Christ-like. We fail each other. We sin against one another. We forget that we are meant to be a family and not merely a social club or association where we pay our annual dues.

But a real family, defined by its beauty and imperfections–its messiness and its glory.

Yet, families fail us because people fail us. The church fails us, not because it is broken, but because we are broken. Individually, we are broken pieces, often consumed by our dysfunction and our past, our pain and our shame.

Yet, in God’s family we are called chosen, redeemed, perfected, renewed, restored. We are not a soon-to-be or maybe-someday people of God. We are the people of God now. Today. Yesterday and Tomorrow.

The church in all its intended glory and rightful glory–it’s present glory and the glory that is to be revealed–is the body of Jesus Christ. And yet, it is still comprised of people–people like me, who fail, who sin, who forget that we are members of the family of the Most High God. Adopted. Once orphaned, but now named.

And so are they…

The ones who hurt us. The ones who forget us. The ones who slight us, scorn us, judge us, sin against us. The ones who gossip, the ones who lie, the ones who betray, the ones who scorn, the ones…

So are they.

They too, are members of God’s family and while their actions cannot be excused, they cannot be used to keep us away. Because really, we cannot be kept away from church because we are the church.

We cannot allow the harm done to us by others to pull us, push us, move us, force us away from the church and our rightful place in it.

We cannot quit.

Because it is ours. It belongs to us, for we are His.

This beauty unspoken and not fully known. This mystery between the Son and His people. This glorious representation of Christ on earth–His hands and feet, His lungs and breath, His heart and mind.

Church hurts and it will hurt us. It stings and convicts. It betrays and forgets because it is made up of people, imperfect people, longing people, lonely people, people on their way to looking more like Christ…

Just like us.

But, we cannot quit. The church is us and we are His.

Have you been hurt by the church or those in the church? Have you walked away or hesitantly returned? Why and how?