Over the centuries the Church has done enough to make any critical person want to leave it. Its history of violent crusades, pogroms, power struggles, oppression, excommunications, executions, manipulation of people and ideas, and constantly recurring divisions is there for everyone to see and be appalled by.
Can we believe that this is the same Church that carries in its centre the Word of God and the sacraments of God’s healing love? Can we trust that in the midst of all its human brokenness the Church presents the broken body of Christ to the world as food for eternal life? Can we acknowledge that where sin is abundant grace is superabundant, and that where promises are broken over and again God's promise stands unshaken? To believe is to answer yes to these questions.
Henri Nouwen, from Bread for the Journey
I’m aware that for some of my readers yesterday’s post will have raised difficult questions. This reflection from Nouwen might go some way to explaining why, no matter what, I can’t walk away from the Body that I am part of… and if things are not always comfortable, that’s part of it, part of the whole process, part of being the Body of Christ in a wounded world.
When I write these things it all looks so cold and “pious” (in the colloquially pejorative sense) on the screen, and yet it’s all shining with tears and energy in my own mind and heart. I wish I could somehow convey how all this is alive with the gentle heartstopping desire the Spirit has—how real it is. Christ, have mercy, is about all I can say these days…