I’ve just enjoyed a bowl of soup. It started with a few simple ingredients—an array of vegetables, different seasonings, water. But the final result was extremely tasty. Each element was discernible, and each complemented the others to perfection.
The Church is a spiritual organisation made up of people. Whether coming together for divine worship or enjoyed each others’ company at social events, the people of the Church are the component parts of the whole. Each is unique in terms of their gifts and abilities, and God has called them together. It could not be a real Church if it was assembled in any other way.
Some soups taste bland because the cook has omitted one or more of the necessary ingredients. In much the same way, some Churches fail to function properly because something has been left out — perhaps the spirituality seems a little flat, maybe some aspects look underdeveloped or feel defective. Here the analogy breaks down a little, because every cook or chef is fallible whereas the God who creates a Church congregation by assembling groups of diverse people is utterly perfect.
If God calls people together to form a Church and the resulting Church does not function correctly, the problem must lie with the people within the Church. Some are living lives that are not sanctified (they gossip, fail to read the Scriptures, attend sporadically, fail to give, refuse to submit to God).
St Paul often talks in his letters about the Body of Christ (often abbreviated to ‘the Body’). The idea is simple: under the prompting of the Holy Spirit, people come together to form a spiritual entity. The Spirit Himself gives the people spiritual gifts and an array of attractive social traits to act as the ‘glue’ that promotes the cohesion of the group.
The soup was good because each ingredient was chosen carefully and then blended with professionalism. In the same way, God is wanting to use us to create a different work of art, Church.
Wishing you all the blessings of a sanctified life:
Sarah and George married on Saturday 6 August. The sun shone, the air was warm, and the couple glowed with joy.
All photos come from Claire Fromm.