Sometimes I have a pre-planned idea of what I'm going to write about in a particular series, but then God completely interrupts my well-oiled ideas! Well, that is what happened yesterday with this Navigating Church series.
I was going to write next about how to handle it when we feel jealous of Christian couples at church, followed by a post on how our spouses respond to church. But instead yesterday I got an overriding phrase from God about all this. It was a phrase where God seemed to be saying 'Take a step back and look at it differently'. The phrase was this:
A family has the power of a nuclear bomb!
If that sounds a little weird, please don't give up on reading yet! Let me carry on a little:
I think what God is saying is that when the church behaves as family to each other, there is a spiritual power that comes from that that is beyond what we can even imagine. And, like a lot of spiritual truths, we can't see it but it is there. The unity of a church as a family unit provides a spiritual power that is matchless -- A power that can overtake anything in its path. Just like a nuclear bomb, except in a good way because it's the power of the Holy Spirit.
It's the stuff that Jesus talked about when he told Peter that he was going to build his church:
You are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it.
And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven (Matt 16:18, NKJV)
It's like the ultimate bomb. A smart bomb.
On the other hand, if the church is not unified, and not behaving like a family to each other, they will be weak and powerless.
Now, this issues us a challenge: Can we approach the whole messy issue of 'church' in a way where our fellow churchgoers become to us like siblings, children, or parents? To do that we have to lay aside quite a lot of our own 'stuff', I think.
Yes, our church family and our blood family (especially our spouse) might not mix. So be it. But we are called to steward both things as SUMites.
For me personally, there's quite a lot more that I can do to be a good family member to those in my church. The thought of that simple action and attitude bringing power is awesome and interesting, and I am game for this challenge.
There is another scripture that alludes to this power that comes from unity. It's this one:
Behold, how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity! It is like the precious oil upon the head, running down on the beard, the beard of Aaron, running down on the edge of his garments. It is like the dew of Hermon, descending upon the mountains of Zion; for there the Lord commanded the blessing -- Life forevermore (Psalm 133, NKJV)
I wonder why that scripture mentions Aaron specifically? I guess it is that Aaron, as high priest for the Israelites, had the powerful role of standing in the gap between people and God. Unity, then, brings an 'Aaron' kind of power: It's a power where God turns his ear to us.
So, if we take this word, that being a family leads to power, I wonder if we can pause now and consider this question: What does it look like to treat those in our church like family?
I would actually love to see your comments about that, so I'll pause here and see what thoughts spring to mind for you.
I think there are some complexities in it. It's not straightforward. Still, let's chat. I look forward to your comments!