Why I Love the Church – An Introduction

August 23, 2013


Chelsea and Brandon (fictional) are part of a growing demographic in America.  They believe in Jesus but not church.  That is, they affirm the divinity of Jesus and his sacrificial, atoning death on the cross.  But they have chosen to separate themselves from Christ’s one, holy, catholic and apostolic church.

Every Chelsea and every Brandon has an explanation for this disconnect.  Which means that the reasons are individual and legion.  Hence, I will leave an exploration of Chelsea’s and Brandon’s motives to someone else.  I will also ignore the consequences for their spiritual health.

My task here is to express my own positive thoughts and feelings about church…in other words, why I love the church.

I am, of course, a priest.  A cynic might muse that I am required to defend the church because they pay me. To that I respond, I don’t do this for the money.  In fact, I would do it for free.

Another cynic might suggest that I love the church because I am an insider.  Insiders always love their privileged positions.  To that, I respond, close but no cigar.  Being a priest is, indeed a privilege.  But only in the sense of serving.  As a fallen, sinful, wretched person, there is no way I deserve to do what God has called me to do.  In that sense, it is a genuine privilege.

Actually, what being a priest does is this: it provides me with a unique perspective. I have the opportunity to observe and experience things others do not.  This includes the best and the worst of the church.  Church life can be aggravating, even disheartening at times.  But it also gives joy and life that cannot be found any other way.

I know that because I have been both churched and unchurched.  Until I met my wife in college, I had never been to a worship service.  Karen got me to church on Christmas and Easter, but rarely beyond that.  In my late twenties, when I became a believer, we jumped into church life in a big way.  After a few years, I became a priest.

Decades later, after the death of my daughter, I dropped out of church, ministry and much of life for a period.  That was a time of deep darkness and intense pain.  But as my head began to clear and my heart began to heal, I was drawn back. 

Experiencing church services once again, letting the service flow over me and into me was like a soothing, medicating balm.  Being in a pew in the assembled body of God’s people, hearing scripture read, sermons preached, praying the prayers, receiving communion… these ministered to my damaged spirit and broken heart in ways I cannot describe in words.  It was the medicine I needed to bring me back to life.

My point is this.  Yes, I am a priest.  But I don’t consider myself to be a professional church guy.  Instead, I am a guy who is a Christian, a guy who loves Jesus…and a guy who loves the Bride of Christ. 

We will explore why in another post .

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