Monday, September 8, 2008

On Leaving

A couple from my church announced yesterday to the congregation that they were leaving. I know that all were shocked, and many were hurt. I re-live, in a way, my own leaving. The second guessing - should I have done it another way? Was I wrong, in that many were hurt? Should I have stayed for their sakes? To save them confusion, shock, hurt?

But once more now, as then, the conclusion I must come to is that what is at stake is greater than their feelings, or mine. It goes beyond trying to preserve the "fellowship" we had. It becomes not a question of how they are affected, or even what I see as right. It is about the life of the Lord Jesus being lived, being released, being visible the world.

In these last days, when "Church" has evolved to be a thing so far removed from that first expression of Him, it is about a restoration, a resurrection of that Life in our midst. Apart from custom, ritual, and tradition that have long been heaped and layered upon it, smothering it, hiding it under a bushel.

Let our light shine! Let the Light of the World, Jesus Christ, shine through your people, oh LORD!


Ruth Lang said...

HI Maureen, how long is it since you left ? WE left in 2000 and I think it takes time, at least it did for me, to really grieve the loss of the THING we call church and all that goes with it because there is a profound sense of 'no longer belonging'. I am thankful that I had someone at the time to continually encourage me and help me focus on Christ and particularly the new found freedom that I was finding in Him as I did so ! GBY in your jouney. Ruth

Ruth Lang said...

ps where are you in canada ?

William said...

Dear Maureen,

I am reading "Pagan Christianity" by Viola and Barna, and God is using it to powerfully reconnect me with what He intended by "church" (Ekklesia). You express concern - a mournfulness, at the sad state of affairs the church has arrived at - that it can't deliver on what people need to remain connected. I can acknowledge the sadness of people once connected, drifting apart, but I must move on to share a different perspective -

I was blessed to be warned - in my spirit - 38 years ago, after conversion to Christ, by the Lord, not to go to so-called "church" (as practiced in America today). Like an ox being led to slaughter, I listened and followed the advice of men, not God, at that time. 38 years later I am mourning the wasted years. I am beginning to get glimpses, faint glimpes, of a future out of Institutional Christianity, and it looks like a future of incredible potential, with my own body as God's temple (no building I must go to), with Christ as my High Priest, and the need for sacrifice a settled matter.

Allow me to gently suggest you rejoice for those who just quit, not mourn. Allow me to further suggest that church carried forward in North America today has not become corrupt in the last few generations, but has been wrong dating back since it's orgins around the 4th or 5th century. These people you speak of, and youself, and me and ruth lang are people who have been freed from Satan's snare, and there is much cause for rejoicing.

Maureen said...

William I do rejoice. Though I do empathize with a struggle to move forward in spite of oppostition and advice from well meaning folks. Those whose opinions and zeal for truth you have respected in the past. It is a continual choosing on our part to obey what we are sure God is asking of us, in spite of our former "loyalites", and at the same time deal with that ever present knowledge that our hearts are easily deceived (could we after all be wrong?).

The longer I am away from church, the less church has a hold on me. I know that my friends will know increasing freedom in Christ as they obey what they know in their spirit is His voice leading them. That has been my experience. And along with that comes a vision, such as you describe, of what Christ's body SHOULD and COULD be, as His people are one by one set free from religion and tradition.

We are hopeful to become such a body, small though we be, and look forward to what the Lord will teach us and accomplish through our assembling together according to His clear instruction in scripture.

I am happy that you are coming also to a place of glad release from your former understanding of "Ekklesia". I know that myself and my friends have benefitted too from Beresford Job's tapes, and look forwad to a conference later this month. It will be encouraging to meet with other folks face to face, and ask the many questions that we have regarding being Christ's body as visible in the world today.