Thursday, December 29, 2011
The Community of the Broken
Watching him leave causes me to think of the church more as "The Community of the Broken" instead of "The Community of Believers." It has always grieved me to see folks leaving because the brokenness becomes unbearable. It still does. I remember two men who almost came to blows at a church softball league game and they were on the same team. They both stayed, but it always seemed strained between them. And two others at a different place exchanged such sharp words that each one made sure the other was not in the same group going to the Table for communion. Sounds strange, but sadly, true. Of course, most folks don't stay. They leave and carry their unresolved stuff and broken hearts to another place.
To watch still another one go because of the brokenness brings its own dark cloud of helplessness. We naturally want to separate ourselves from the brokenness around us, particularly, when it makes itself known in a place where community is supposed to be modeled. The church is a spiritual community with Christ as its head, but the church some seek is, unfortunately, the church of heaven, not the church of earth. The church of earth is as flawed as I am. Maybe, even as flawed as you are. Put us all together with all our brokenness and only the grace of God enables us to catch glimpses of the kingdom being worked out on earth.
I find myself thinking about C.S. Lewis', Screwtape Letters. In that small volume Lewis enables us to see that the sacred space we call the church is a battleground where evil constantly seeks to gain a foothold in the human heart. Maybe there really is a reason to pray that line of the Jabez prayer which says, "Keep evil away." Or, maybe Jesus had it right when He taught us to pray, saying, "Deliver us from evil."