Posted by: William | November 3, 2007

Eulogy for a Church

At your birth, you were beautiful. In all of your slime, grit, grease, dirt and blood- you were beautiful. Thousands looked on you with wonder and amazement; some, so confused by the power in you, trivialized your actions into mere drunkenness. But still at your birth you grew 3,000 strong. More slime, grit, grease, dirt and blood only made you more beautiful; only made your Father more beautiful. In fact, some were so captured by the power carried inside you, they carried you with them back to Rome, with only little more than your testimony.

In your youth, you traveled. You visited the neighboring cities and countries of your birth. You weren’t smart, you weren’t persuasive; but you were powerful. Your dumb brains toppled the intellectual topics of the day, the false gods of other societies with ease. You didn’t care if your name was Paul or if your name was Apollos; although sometimes you needed to be reminded; it was only slime, grit, grease, dirt and blood that would cause your Father to shine even brighter, and brighter still as he would wash you with his blood.

In your youth, you loved. So intensely you loved that it was impossible for the rest of the world to ignore. You loved your Father, and you loved each other and you loved everyone else; and for that, everyone else hated you. And when they stoned you, beheaded you, crucified and tortured you simply looked to your father and thanked him that your bloody death could magnify His perfect life. And when you breathed your last before countless others, you filled up what was lacking in regard to Christ’s afflictions and so some were able to breathe their first.

In your youth, you lived by faith. Because your Father had promised to lead you and you believed Him. You would walk into the darkest places, speak to the most dangerous people, dine with the most vile. You remembered not to worry about what you would wear, for you saw the lilies of the field. Instead you worked as if you were working for the Lord, waiting for His provision; not storing away in your barns in case He didn’t show. You gave to each other whenever you had need. You believed it when your Father promised to provide for you, so you gave unsparingly. You owned nothing, but shared everything, and daily you grew.

But after years of glorious suffering, genuine love, and uninhibited use of the indwelling power; a council was called to formalize, legalize and poison you. The emperor said he had joined you, he said your Father made him a holy conqueror. You believed him. It wasn’t long before your trembling, infectious love gave way to complacency in your common parts and in your hands and feet, violence toward the outside world. Where once you pitied, loved and laid your life down for those who didn’t know your Father, instead you burned them at the stake, or skewered them on the end of a sword. Where once you sought to become less and your Father to become more, instead you sought gold and political power.

In your aging years, you speak of freedom. Your freedom is a digital projector, a cushioned pew, an expensive sound system, a genuine feeling of superiority over the lesser cultures around you. Your freedom has bound you up, and although you Father still calls out to you to come, you reply, “I can’t leave all this behind.”

In your aging years, you know who you are. You know what makes you, you. You have tax status, you have corporate accounts, you have an entire industry revolving around you, simply to ensure you stay you. You live in constant fear, not of belittling your Father. No, but of being belittled. That your auditorium seats would become vacant at the hands of the next religious display. You know that if you responded to your Father’s call, you’d certainly cease to be who you are.

In your aging years, you are self sufficient. You’re leaders know everything popular thought can know; and you follow them. You have worked out your intellect until it’s completely empty. Your colleges make men elite, unapproachable, unquestionable, masters of everything divine. You carefully craft conference after conference teaching yourself how to more effectively lead yourself. You’re a master mathematician in the art of filling your seats. You know more formulas for enticing people in than you know names for your Father. In your aging years, you don’t put unbelieving men to the point of a sword, but the edge of an intellect. Staunch, proud, self-centered and bound up; the rest of the world looks at you and laughs.

In your aging years, you are all but dead. But your Father raised his Son to life, and he can do so with you as well. He calls to you; you must learn how to listen and obey!

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