After nearly eight months of church-homelessness, I am so looking forward to Sunday and to this new beginning together. It’s hard for me to fully convey my joy at plunging in with this flesh-and-blood expression of the body of Christ at the corner of 16th and O. Perhaps these words from a friend of mine in Georgia, pastor Bill Self, who died this week after a battle with ALS, say it best:
"I still love the church. I love the church universal, as well as the church local (red brick, white-columned with deacons smoking in the parking lot). With all of its dysfunction and flesh marks, with all of its confusion and humanity, it is still the best thing God has going for Him in this world. We do have a treasure in earthen vessels.
The church is a solid oak tree, not a fragile tea cup. It has withstood Roman Imperialism, Jewish legalism, pagan optimism, medieval institutionalism, the excesses of the reformers, wars and rumors of wars, a youth quake, modern skepticism, southern provincialism, resurgent fundamentalism, and heresies in each generation that seem never to die.
[The church] can withstand anything our generation can throw at it.
It has been victimized by unprepared and selfish clergy, tone-deaf musicians, manipulative members, argumentative deacons, demanding denominations, unloving reformers, and greedy politicians. Still it continues to provide love, affirmation and community to the fallen in the face of alienation. The church is worth the effort."
~ Bill Self, The Church Is Worth the Effort, preached at First Baptist
Church of Pensacola, FL, May 4, 2014
The church is a treasure in earthen vessels and your new pastor is as “earthen” as they come. Thanks in advance for your patience with me in the days ahead. Thanks most of all for your commitment to this beautiful, homely, graceful, awkward, inspiring, frustrating, living, breathing embodiment-of-Christ-on-earth.
Here we go!