Friday, January 20, 2017

The Church: A Hospital For Sinners?

The hospital.  Ugh.  Not someplace I am fond of.  As I was there with my mom last week for her angiogram, it hit me.  Life.  Death.  Both take place in the hospital.  Good.  Bad.  Joyful. Hard.  Sad. Happy.  Healing. It all takes place there.  The hospital.

As I was walking the halls last week to the waiting room, bathrooms, cafeteria, all these thoughts and feelings were going through my mind and heart. God was starting to speak to me, but didn't finish it until today.  Initially, I was angry about the church being referred to as a hospital for sinners.  "Why would anyone want to go there {church} if that's what it is referred to?"  "What good happens here, at the hospital, other than birth?"  "What good happens here?"  Those are some thoughts that went through my head that day. Apparently, the newness of my dad's passing at the hospital is still fresh and "raw" in me.  Death. That's what I associate with the hospital. That brings up a myriad of emotions and feelings. Christ had to die to set us free.  Death brought life and freedom and joy and all that He gives us, so freely and without us deserving any of it.  Death.  Where loved ones leave this earth and your life, and hopefully, as my dad did, know Jesus and go their eternal home of heaven, where there is no pain, no suffering, no hurt {Revelation 21:4}.  But there's more to death, which I will get into later.

On the flip side, LIFE happens at the hospital. Babies are born everyday, bringing new life into the world.  That's a blessing, and again, something Christ's death brought to us ~ life {John 10:10}. However, last week, the experience of death overshadowed the life component.  I wonder if that's what happens in our day to day lives, we get so caught up in death that we forget life?  That death overpowers life?  Jesus died for us to have life to the full, so really death brings life.  That's exactly what we are going through now with our church, the "Live|Dead Joy" book by Dick Brogden.  Highly recommend, by the way.

I actually asked my friend, who is a pastor herself and the pastor's wife how she felt about the church being called a hospital for sinners.  She replied "we are all sinners."  I then went onto say something like "but who likes to go to the hospital?"   As I have had more time to think about that, the Holy Spirit has convicted me that my statement comes from a place of pride.  Pride in saying I want to be well, I don't want to be sick.  I don't want to need medical attention because I am healthy.  Isn't that like saying I don't need Jesus?  That I can do it on my own?  Forgive me for my pride, Lord.  I am a sinner who clearly needs Your help; I can't do this on my own.   I need the LIFE that you bring by my dying.  Dying to self.  Dying to sin.

Today's "Live|Dead Joy" smacked me right between the eyes.  He says "We are comfortable and desirous of the Spirit-led life, quick to embrace the power, guidance, deliverance, and liberty the Spirit gives - but we are slow to accept that the Spirit also leads to death."  WOW!  Quick to embrace life, but slow to accept death.  That's exactly what I was thinking about at the hospital.  He continues "All who follow Jesus must come to terms with the Spirit leading them to death; the death of self-will, which leads to the deliverance of others.  We do not live to be served, but to serve and to give our lives for the ransom of others {Matt 20:28}.  If we do this joyfully, we will indeed be baptized with the baptism of Jesus."  

So, this is my moment of coming to terms with the Spirit leading me to death and being THANKFUL the church is a HOSPITAL for sinners.  I clearly need the LIFE, support, help and aide that Jesus offers in His home.  I have to admit something is wrong, that I am sinful and in need of a Savior to go there.

Curious what your take is on the church being called a "hospital for sinners?"

Blessings on you abundantly today, friends!

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