This year, the book i wrote, ‘i, church’ was published and you can read more about that over here.
But being Sunday where many people around the world will be using that somewhat confusing statement of ‘going to church’ i thought it would be a good idea to post an extract from my book, particularly one aimed at all of the people who think church may be dying or already dead.
SEARCHING FOR THE PULSE OF THE CHURCH
There are many people who believe that the church is dead. Or at
their most optimistic, that it is dying.
Instead of trying to convince you that it is not, let me share
something that should inject some hope into that scenario. In many
ways, a little bit of death in some cases is not the worst thing if it
means that there will be space created for new life to emerge. When
we have been caught up in doing things in unhelpful and even at
times harmful ways in the church, then maybe death is just what we
need to be inviting.
Sexism in the church. Racism in the church. Classism or
wealthism where those who have are given preferential treatment
over those who do not have as much. These are just some examples
of things in the church that need to die.
But if the church itself, the worldwide institution and family, the
body of Christ, was ever to be pronounced dead, then instead of
fear and panic, this stunningly powerful image in Ezekiel 37 would
be a good one to keep in mind.
37 The hand of the LORD was on me, and he brought me out by the
Spirit of the LORD and set me in the middle of a valley; it was full of
bones. 2 He led me back and forth among them, and I saw a great many
bones on the floor of the valley, bones that were very dry. 3 He asked me,
“Son of man, can these bones live?”
I said, “Sovereign LORD, you alone know”.
4 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to these bones and say to them, ‘Dry
bones, hear the word of the LORD! 5 This is what the Sovereign LORD says to
these bones: I will make breath[a] enter you, and you will come to life. 6 I
will attach tendons to you and make flesh come upon you and cover you
with skin; I will put breath in you, and you will come to life. Then you will
know that I am the LORD”.
7 So I prophesied as I was commanded. And as I was prophesying, there
was a noise, a rattling sound, and the bones came together, bone to bone. 8 I
looked, and tendons and flesh appeared on them and skin covered them, but
there was no breath in them.
9 Then he said to me, “Prophesy to the breath; prophesy, son of man,
and say to it, ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says: Come, breath, from
the four winds and breathe into these slain, that they may live’. 10 So I
prophesied as he commanded me, and breath entered them; they came to
life and stood up on their feet—a vast army.
11 Then he said to me: “Son of man, these bones are the people of Israel.
They say, ‘Our bones are dried up and our hope is gone; we are cut
off’. 12 Therefore prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the
Sovereign LORD says: My people, I am going to open your graves and
bring you up from them; I will bring you back to the land of
Israel. 13 Then you, my people, will know that I am the LORD, when I open
your graves and bring you up from them. 14 I will put my Spirit in you
and you will live, and I will settle you in your own land. Then you will
know that I the LORD have spoken, and I have done it, declares the LORD”.
So, if you are someone who has lost hope in the current state of
the church in any way, know that this God who we serve is able to
breathe life into even the deadest of things and spark them into
life. Yes, deadest!
To those of you who believe the church may be dead or dying,
let me remind you of this: Resurrection from the dead just happens
to be God’s speciality.