An article from the 3/22 Weekly Update by Tim Keller
I saw the Church today. No, not the building at 237 E. North; I saw the Church today in all its glory. The people, the called out ones, the body of Christ; I was there and I witnessed, over the course of 24 hours, the beauty of the bride for whom Jesus died.
It was a woman going where she really didn’t want to go, to show love to a person she doesn’t really know that well, in an atmosphere that she really didn’t enjoy being in. Why? Because the Church goes to the difficult place to do the hard work in order to reflect the One who came from heaven to redeem us.
Over coffee at a diner (I had tea); I saw it in the eyes of a young man in love with Jesus and fulfilling a call to be a leader in the Church. His quiet demeanor and wisdom beyond his years spoke of a heart and mind that together reflect his Savior.
I saw it at a Black History Festival in a nearby church where men and women with different skin color came together to seek answers for the issues that are dividing and destroying our society. Though our differences were on display, the common passion was to redeem our community.
I saw it at ten year-old child’s birthday party where the family stopped before the food was served to thank God for what He had given them and expressed gratitude for God’s blessings. A small reflection you say? In a world rapidly pulling away from anything endorsed by the divine, a sincere prayer at a party grows increasingly powerful.
I saw it in a conversation with several people who share the same genetic code of the forgiven. The struggles of living don’t begin to compare with the unleashed joy when a heart has been set free.
I saw a man and his son take time out of their day to help a woman unload a storage container filled with clothes, books and furniture. Did they have other things they would have been doing for those several hours on a Saturday? No doubt, but the loving sacrifice of time was a portrait of the Church on display for anyone to see.
As the sun went down I saw the Church gather some 1,400 strong to sing and celebrate the wonder of Jesus and His compelling love that drove Him to lay down His life for mine. As the massive throng lifted their voices in song I was, for a split second, homesick for heaven and that place where the Church will gather to sing uninterrupted for all of eternity around the throne of the King.
We are quick to point out that the Church is not a building, it is people. While theologically sound, do we sometimes miss the point that we are surrounded by the Church each and every day? Do we realize that the reputation of the whole is built up or torn down by the words, actions and minds of the individuals who make up the body?
I saw the Church today. It was a beautiful thing.