Over the past few months the leaders’ training group had been meeting and studying in Don’s den. They had been delving into the Bible’s diverse depictions of the Christian Church.
This week Don had asked them to come along with their own ideas of portraying aspects of the Church.
The group had studied the Church under the headings of the 3Bs: the Church as a Building, the Church as a Body and the Church as a Bride.
They had come to the conclusion that the material the Lord had to work with was flawed. The Building should in reality end up like the crooked house in the nursery rhyme; the Body as a Frankenstein and the Bride as one of the ugly sisters in Cinderella.
Yet through Christ and the working of the Holy Spirit we become the Building, ‘… like living stones be yourselves built into a spiritual house…’(RSV: 1 Pet 2v5); as the Body we become, ‘…joined and knit together by every joint with which it is supplied, when each part is working properly, makes bodily growth and upbuilds itself in love.’(RSV: Eph 4v16) and as His Bride, ‘…Come, I will show you the Bride, the wife of the Lamb.’(RSV: Rev 21v9).
Don queried, “Does anyone want to kick off with what the Church means to them?”
“I think that it’s like a Garden,” responded Mary, and then continued, “A beautiful flower garden with all the flowers complimenting each other and making a colorful display for all to see and enjoy.”
“You can’t eat flowers” stated Joe. “If we are talking about gardens then a vegetable plot would be more useful.”
“Ok! What about you Mark, have you any thoughts on this one?”
“It’s got to be a Battleship. It has a Captain and a crew who work together as a team; fighting the enemy and protecting the allies from harm and injury. I believe in these last days we shall have to be more proactive.”
Joe added, “I would much prefer to go on a leisure cruise thank you. I’ve always been a conscientious objector. But using that analogy, don’t all the armed forces come into the frame – from land, sea and air?”
“What about you Clive?”
“The Church to me could be described as a Circus.” They all laughed. Then Clive continued, “There’s a ringmaster in a red coat who directs a troupe of performers; a lion tamer who can control a roaring beast and keep it in check and a clown, oh yes, there is always a clown or two in the Church.”
“Oh, Joe – you’ve been found out.” said Jenny.
“Had you finished Clive?” Clive nodded. “Right, anyone else like a go?”
Maureen gave her view, “I think the Church could be likened to a Mighty Oak. The tree has deep roots which support the tree and feed and water it from the ground; just like Jesus supports and sustains us with His own life blood. The acorn is a necessary food for some animals and we should be fruitful and bless others in just the same way.”
Joe gave his view, “The oak has a counterfeit fruit. It’s a gall caused by a wasp’s larvae and it’s called an oak apple. This parasite takes life from the tree and gives nothing back. Completely useless for feeding to others - that’s for sure!”
“There’s just time for one more before I sum up. What about you Joanne?”
“Don, I remember in Sunday School we used to sing a song about going to heaven on an express train. We are on a journey like that as the Church. We should be heading the same way and on the same team. Our work should be to get as many as we can to join us on that journey.”
“Well done, and thank you for giving it so much thought. I think all your points are valid as to some facets of the Church.”
Don continued, “In the 17 century an anonymous hymn writer put things about the Church succinctly in a verse he penned and I’ll quote it for you, as I think it puts Jesus at the very centre of things.”
‘The Church’s one foundation is Jesus Christ her Lord; she is His new creation by water and the word; from heaven He came and sought her to be His holy bride; with His own blood He bought her, and for her life He died.’
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