Tuesday, January 31, 2006

What is a church?

This is not a detailed exegetical conclusion as much as it is an expression of my hopes.

Like a diamond, there are many facets to the church, but three stand out - at least to me - to make the church unique in what it is.

First, a church is a place of ancient enchantment, like an old library where "Scholars take from their treasury things both old and new." Without a sense of antiquity, religion dies at the hands of modernity. The true church knows this and so it always demands that its faith be anchored in the past, knowing that what is old, simply is. We cannot change it, nor can those folks who think that religion should "change with the times." As a glorious anachronism, the church is a place of rest from a weary world of immediate pleasures and desparate lives.

Second, a church is a boat, tossed and pummeled in a tempest. There is no good reason why it has not disappeared into the deep...except one, the solitary presence which is "asleep in the stern."

Third, a church is like a garden, always needing tending. The Catholics seem to get this and reinforce it by the construction of real gardens on the church grounds. Like Gesemane, you can find the hearts true home.


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