Wednesday, 28 April 2010

'How is it and when is it the Church'? by Romanos Gorny

Today's posting was written by my American, Eastern Orthodox friend and brother Romanos Gorny who hosts the excellent blog:The Cost of Discipleship (copy and paste ) or click the title above to go to his site.
I like this article because it asks questions that we don't often think about, and if we do, we quickly move on to something else because in order to find the answer we have to think too hard, preferring to be content with the status quo!Romanos however is prepared to articulate these questions, reflect on them, even if in the end he must confess that only God knows.This article was originally a response he made to yesterday's post.AK

It's always on my mind to contemplate what the Church is, how it is, and when it is. Where it is doesn't bother me at all. I meet saints of God every day and I feel myself surrounded always by the great cloud of witnesses.

Some things I know: The Church is the Bride of Christ, the little flock, the pilgrim people who follow the Lamb wherever He goes. It is people always, never a building or an institution, though the Church can be found dwelling amidst these visible structures, yet it is never limited to them or by them.

How the Church is, that is more difficult to put my finger on: I have many questions, but few answers. Is what we see and experience as church, even when it is languishing in self-indulgence and smug accomplishment, still the church? How can it be? Yet there are souls in that condition and estate who confess the name of Jesus and can even give their testimony, yet the remainder of their life appears to be a false witness. Yet according to the letter of scripture, they are saved, because they can claim one or two verses as proof texts, and they have a license to do whatever they want. They call it "abundant life."

When the Church is, that also is difficult for me sometimes, mostly for the same reasons I wrote in the previous paragraph. When is the church the Church? Is it the Church when it is simply a sheep pen with the gates closed and latched shut? Is it the Church when it's free-roving rams outside the stockade rustling more sheep? Or is it only the Church when it is an open field full of sheep and rams that follow only the good Shepherd?

My Christian life is always lived in tension between all these ideas, but luckily, the Lord doesn't let me indulge in too much philosophizing or mooning about imponderables. He calls me every day and says, "Do this" and "Do that," and "Follow Me!" My only responsibility is to "just say Yes to Jesus." And everything, I mean everything, takes care of itself.

"Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these other things shall be added as well."

1 comment:

Ρωμανός ~ Romanós said...

What a surprise to find my comment posted on your blog! I am both honored and humbled, but even more so, I am privileged to have you as my friend and brother in Christ. I thank the Lord for your witness and for sharing with me the same testimony of Jesus. Glory to Him who has shown us the Light. "In Christ there is no east or west, in Him no south or north..."