“Jesus, draw us close.
Closer, Lord, to you.
Let the world around us fade away….”

A much loved chorus from many, many years ago. We sang it yesterday in worship and it never fails to comfort me.

Been thinking over some things theological lately. I’m no theologian, when all is said and done, but I do enjoy the process. Going deeper with God secures my faith, providing a strong foundation on which to stand even when the dark things of life are pressing in. The world — including the Christian culture — is difficult on so many levels. Focusing on God is the best reminder to move graciously and gracefully through this life. Reading the Word of the One who loves me best is a peerless way to start every day, setting the tone for remembering that I am His, pushing the hours of my daily life to reflect just that.

I’ve been considering love and grace a lot lately. It is dismaying to see how divided the Church can be; so divided that at times it is unrecognizable in its absence of love and grace for each other. Each side of this disagreement always devolves into assertions that the other side’s interpretation of love and grace is cheap and shallow, even un-Scriptural. Fundamentally, if we cannot agree on the definitions of love and grace, as demonstrated in Jesus life and throughout the entire Word, then we cannot come to an understanding. More importantly, if we keep digging in our heels that our own interpretation is the only one that could possibly be correct — i.e. that I am Right and you are Wrong, and that’s that — we will never have peace within the Church. The Church is the Bride of Christ, but she is wracked with turmoil and even, at times, vitriol. What must Jesus think as He views our continuing selfishness and narcissism toward each other?

If the Church’s main purpose … here … is to further God’s kingdom … here …, then we’re setting an incredibly poor example for those souls we are trying to reach … here.

There are no easy answers. My personal defense against the unlovely underbelly of Christianity is to seek God’s will on a daily, even hourly basis. To focus on His provision to me and on how much I owe Him for all He does and has done so that He and I can be reconciled forever. To aim at surrendering every minute of my day to what He would have me do. I believe that He desires peace among His people, and that I am responsible to Him for my conduct. It’s the only sanity I get as I watch the struggle among the believers to prove who is right and who is wrong, petty squabbles within a Body that is already so perfectly beloved by God and has attained, through His mercy, the highest pinnacle humans could reach.

And still there are souls in this world who desperately need to be told about Christ, to be saved from absolute separation from God, to be loved as Christ loves everyone; all the while the Church remains distracted within itself, fighting (not arguing, not debating — but actually fighting) over who is Right and who is Wrong.

I’m not saying my interpretations are always correct. But I am saying that even in our disagreements, we must remain Christ-like in our conduct, because that is what God has commanded of His people and that is our best witness to a wounded world.


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