The Scriptures and the Small Church
Thoughts which Drive us to Chrsit and His Cross…
“This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies says: All this may seem impossible to you now, a small remnant of God’s people. But is it impossible for me? says the LORD of Heaven’s Armies.Zec 8: NLT
When I whistle to them, they will come running, for I have redeemed them. From the few who are left,
they will grow as numerous as they were before. Zec 10:8 NLT
4 This is what the LORD my God says: “Go and care for the flock that is intended for slaughter. 5 The buyers slaughter their sheep without remorse. The sellers say, ‘Praise the LORD! Now I’m rich!’ Even the shepherds have no compassion for them. Zec. 11:4-5 NLT
10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead! Phil. 3:10-11 NLT
This means that as we sit in faith, opening to the fullness of the presence of God within us, we share the dynamic of the Paschal mystery. In other words, when we stop acting out of our false self and the emotional programs for happiness by deliberately entering into silence and solitude during the time of Centering Prayer, we are immersing ourselves in a special way in the Paschal mystery. The Paschal mystery is Christ’s passion, death, and resurrection, the most comprehensive manifestation of who God is, as far as this can be expressed in human terms.… In the midst of a community praying together in Centering Prayer is the Risen Christ.
As I read the prophet’s words, I cannot but think of what I heard from so many church “experts” today. Not just in my Lutheran body of believers, but across denominations. Once again we are hearding that small churches do not matter. That they have no hope, I saw this back in the 90’s, and I have been seeing it for the last decade or so…
I think there were “intended for slaughter” much as the false shepherds and and false prophets who would profit from the few left in the Holy Land.
These churches are still valid, they are still places where word and sacrament are provided, blessing the people of God. Perhaps they need to be discipled better, encouraged better, that they need to spend more time, being still and knowing God is there. Time spent contemplating the suffering, death and resurrection of Jesus, something we as believers, something we as the church knows
As St Paul noted of Abraham, “This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Romans 4:17 (NLT2) This is true for the church, and it happens as the church they dwell in Jesus Christ. THat is how revival always happens, not in the mega churches, nor among the great speakers. It happens when the presence of Christ is revealed, and His mercy cleanses hopeless sinners, recreating them into saints. What was considered impossible, is now possible–because of Jesus.
So let’s encourage each other, let’s see us lift up the small churches, and pray for them, and as we can, help them see they dwell in Jesus.
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), 302.