Heard this one before? “I love Jesus, but I just don’t like His Church.” Or maybe this one: “Dear Jesus, save me from your followers.” It’s become an increasingly trendy idea, and one that I hear more and more all the time.
There seems to be a great number of people who say they love Jesus, they think what He said and what He stood for were great. But when it comes to the Church that claims His name so many years later, they want nothing to do with it.
To be fair, I can appreciate where this comes from. Let’s not kid ourselves, the church has done a number of things over the years, and even today, that have been pretty unlovable.
However, in spite of our past mistakes as a church, I still love the church. I may be in the minority on this. I think even amongst Christians in the church there’s less of a desire to admit you’re part of a church somewhere. But not me. I love the church. In fact, in a weird sort of way, I think it is the flaws of the church that help remind me why I love it.
One of the biggest mistakes a church can make is when they start acting like a Cathedral for the Saints. Nothing could be further from the truth. The church has always been at its best when it knew its original mission: To be a hospital for sinners. When you read the Bible and look at who Jesus called to be part of his original group of followers, the original church, they were all sinners.
People who had made so many mistakes and, even after following Jesus, would make still more. But that was the point. Perfect people didn’t need Jesus. Only the ones with flaws and faults. The ones who made mistakes and knew it. People like the original followers. People like me.
That’s my church. And why I love it. And why I hope people who want nothing to do with it give it a second chance. And a third, and a fourth after that. Because no church will ever be perfect, far from it in fact. But if you’re looking for a welcoming group of imperfect people, the church is a perfect place for you. As it turns out, Jesus designed it that way from the beginning.