Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Church

What is church?
Is it the Gospel passionately spoken?
No, that is simply a sermon
Then is it the Gospel sung?
Or is that merely a sweet and stirring song?
What is church?

The Church
God's Bride
is a community of people
living out
the Gospel

The question is not,
"Do you go to church?"
or,
"What church do you go to?"
The question is,
"Are you the Church?"
and that question is not answered with words
but with life and love
and all the little daily deeds
that tell the truth of your heart's belief
that display the marks of where your soul is really destined to spend eternity

The churches of America have forgotten the Gospel
lost sight of it
They turn their heads
and cover their eyes
they block up their ears
and ridicule to silence
They say,
"We've been told the way to heaven!"
but they listen not
to the Words of the Holy One
bidding them to come
always bidding them to come to Him

Where is the Church of Christ?
I look among the buildings of stone and brick and wood
but find only buildings made by man
find only men discipled by men
Where is the Church of Christ?
Where are the Christians?
disciples of Jesus
there have been
even now, there are on distant lands
but where is the Church
where are the Christians
in our midst?
I hear the world cry out to know
I hear the cry from their broken hearts and broken homes
I hear the cry drift on cold winds
that blow over this barren broken world
and feel my soul cry along with them, sometimes
Where is the Church?
Where are the Christians?

Oh, God, make us that Church
may Your Gospel be embodied by our lives
just so vividly
make us truly a light upon a hill
that all who long for light, safety, hope
for You
would see Your Love
in us
would see You
might encounter You
might touch Your garment
when they touch ours
might know Your forgiveness
through ours
might hear Your Words
through our lips
might see Your scarred Hands and Feet
when we reach out to take their hand
when we walk miles and miles
to bring the Good News home to their hearts
Make us that Church

Trampled upon, I am
hated, I remain
but I am not ashamed
for I shine among the blind
I speak to the deaf
still I say,
"Beloved friends, have you read what the Bridegroom has said?
Oh, would you come and find Him with me?
Look! I see His Footsteps on this path!"
but you only say,
"We do not know these sayings!
The one we love would never say these hard Words!"
But my Bridegroom has spoken, you see
He has spoken and written and whispered and wooed
a thousand countless ways He calls me
and His Words are red with the Blood He shed for me
and I must go
I will run
I must find Him
and hold Him fast and never let Him go,
dear friend

Oh, crucify us, as You must
until You see Your Love in us
until our words are stained deep-red and meaningful with love poured out
that You might then raise us to walk with You
joyful
peace-filled
exuberant
resurrected
yes, raised to walk in all the power of the Resurrection
raise us to live, to love, to be
as You've longed and interceded
for Your Bride to one day be

I know You've longed for her heart to beat with Yours
I know You've longed for her hand to fit within Yours, just so
I know You've longed to share it all
Your deepest thoughts
Your sweetest laughter
Your anguished tears
Your anger and Your hope
Your plans, Your dreams, and so many possibilities we never know
that pierce Your Heart with their beauty and tragedy
even in Your moments of silence
I know You long
I know You long for a listening ear
for eyes that perceive
for understanding to meet Your searching Soul
I know You long for Your Church
please, oh God, let me be that Church
whatever it takes
whatever it costs
persevere with me
test me and try me
in Your faithful and tender mercy
redeem me
redeem us
until we are that Bride
that Bride who follows You to Calvary and then walks with You in white