God Gave us His….
Thoughts which draw us to Jesus, and the cross where we died with Him, that we might live!
And having chosen them, he called them to come to him. And having called them, he gave them right standing with himself. And having given them right standing, he gave them his glory. Romans 8:30 NLT
What good is all our busy religion if God isn’t in it? What good is it if we’ve lost majesty, reverence, worship—an awareness of the divine? What good is it if we’ve lost a sense of the Presence and the ability to retreat within our own hearts and meet God in the garden? If we’ve lost that, why build another church?
The false self is looking for fame, power, wealth, and prestige. The unconscious is very powerful until the divine light of the Holy Spirit penetrates to its depths and reveals its dynamics. Here is where the great teaching of the dark nights of St. John of the Cross corresponds to depth psychology, only the work of the Holy Spirit goes far deeper. Instead of trying to free us from what interferes with our ordinary human life, the Spirit calls us to transformation of our inmost being, and indeed of all our faculties, into the divine way of being and acting.
Tozer’s words resonate deeply within me…. for I have seen the devastation of churches that once seemed alive. I have seen others give up on the church over the last 40 years, trying to build community, trying to create communities that have different names than “church.” Others panic, and try to hold onto the practices of the church they treasure, but do so forgetting the message of those churches that comforted and inspired them to comfort others.
What good is it, if the pattern continues, and the next generation closes down the missional communities that abandoned the fellowships that abandoned the church? What good is it If the million churches to be planted end up with 100 -people each are replaced 15 years down the road by 500,000 with 30 people, or even if they all reach 1000?
What good is this if none of them are aware of the presence of God in their lives?
Keating explains what we need – what St John of the Cross called “the darks nights of the soul.” The times of despair where we realize that our only hope is the comfort of the Holy Spirit. To let the Spirit transform us from the inside out, the deepest, darkest places of our psyche. These places, once damaged by sin, are made right only by Jesus. But we have to face those uncomfortable nights of the soul, and we have to trust those the Lord who brought us through that night, and promises to bring us into His presence, into His glory.
That’s what makes building a building the church… building the church. It is the people of God in the presence of God.
Everything else is a side effect of that…
A. W. Tozer, Tozer for the Christian Leader (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2015).
Thomas Keating, The Daily Reader for Contemplative Living: Excerpts from the Works of Father Thomas Keating, O.C.S.O., Sacred Scripture, and Other Spiritual Writings, ed. S. Stephanie Iachetta (New York; London; New Delhi; Sydney: Bloomsbury, 2009), 166.