Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Church is Full

Shorter than yesterday, because only one simple point: when the church realises she is empty and acts as if she is empty, when she acknowledges that she is nothing and has nothing and takes that knowledge seriously; when she is forced by her own nothingness to turn away from herself and toward Christ - then, and then only, is she the Church.

When this happens in the Church, she looks towards the promise of Christ and the Word of God, and finds that the promise still holds true and the Word is still living and active. Against every indication, and beyond even her hope, the Church lives as the body of Christ. She preaches with authority as the herald of Christ. She comforts the broken with the comfort of Christ.

But she does not thereby derive an energy of her own, or an authority of her own, or a comfort of her own. At the centre of the Church, when she is really the Church, there is a deliberate vacuum. The ministries of the Church - the preaching of the Word, the administration of the Sacraments, the community life of her members - are all designed to point to this vacuum and to excite faith that the vacuum will be filled by the work of Christ himself.

Being the Church is not a status we can obtain, because it is never a static thing. Even our being the Church doesn't depend on us but on the work of the Lord in our midst, in the space at the centre of our being which is His. It is when she is empty and nothing that she is full and something, and not otherwise.

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.

1 comment:

  1. Nice post. Provoking and true.

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