It is fairly common to refer to the church as a body. This stems from the writing in the New Testament attributed to Paul which refers to the church as the 'body of Christ' (Ephesians 4:12). The church is a body. It is not perfect and nor should it be. It is broken and it can be beautiful when we accept its gifts, diversity, fragility, disabilities and scars.
The church is broken because we still have broken mindset about the church. We have a broken mindset about humanity. We have a broken mindset about God. I have an evolving vision for the church. The hope I have is that church can be at it's best when it accepts its faults, cracks and brokenness and allows God to bring wholeness.
It was an honour to hear first-hand from men and women who had survived the holocaust. A few years from now there will be no more survivors; their generation will have passed on from this life. As he spoke Peter said, “Try not to hate; hatred gets you nowhere.” I want to learn the strength and power of the decision to love.
I have been reflecting on what I saw and experienced in Zimbabwe, the physiological, political and financial needs, the church, the business, the searching for a saviour and the reflections I see in the UK. My reflections bring me to the theme of water. What concerns me is the church has become reliant on models of delivering sanitised spirituality through a Victorian system or a bottled version with exaggerated promises.
One week I am waking up wondering about the safety of a journey across Harare to the airport, the next I am taking my kids to school then heading towards the Houses of Parliament. One week I have no internet due to the Zimbabwe government shutting it down, the next I have easy access to high speed broadband and 4G wherever I go. One week I am in glorious sunshine the next I am wondering if the snow might settle or if it will just blow around a do nothing.
As a team of mostly white European Christian’s we rely on our money, tablets, bottled water, lotions, potions, phones, wifi, we don't rely on God. We rely on our intellect to win the game of politics of church power and control. We rely on safe foods, hand sanitizer, ability to bride, insurance, contacts in high places ... who is our God?
We learn that 55% percent of the country now has no internet, meaning that there is no way for the demonstrators to communicate with Whatsapp or similar are easy rally masses of people. It also means we are without much communication to the outside world and don’t know what is happening. Without access to social media, no TV and a broken DVD player it seems like this is going to be a long and quiet day.
You must have a framework of justice! Be guided by the principal of justice!
The singing is great, only this time we are required to dance when our name is called. It is a somewhat embarrassing experience, though fun, I am pleased that none of us are famous enough to warrant TV crews who will share footage far and wide. It is enough to say, white folk can't dance!
Jesus preached that we should love God and love our neighbours. This week I heard a preacher subtly preach condemnation, encouraging the congregation to boldly stand up for rights, to be ready to fight. It was a sermon that misused scripture and encouraged hatred for anything that is other. It was a sermon that subtly made space for racism, sexism and homophobia. The church is broken because it’s forgotten to love her neighbours and is choosing to fight them instead.