This quote by St. Francis of Assisi was recently tweeted by Aaron Niequist…and it just about kicked me in the teeth. I need to be reminded of this daily, so it’s now the wallpaper on my iPhone’s Lock Screen.
I don’t know about you, but I really struggle with being too critical of the Church. Sometimes I focus way too much on the negative that I lose sight of the positive. It is so easy to become cynical, and it’s also just plain exhausting. Just being honest.
While the Church (and our worship/liturgies/whatever) desperately needs prophetic critiquing and biblical, Christ-centered strengthening, those truths need to be offered up in generous and loving ways. I can get so passionate and excited about what the Church is becoming that I end up complaining and nit-picking Her to death. Yes, there is lots of room for improvement…but there is also lots of room for celebration for what Christ has done in us. “He has done great things in us…” “…and greater things have yet to come!” (to quote a few songs)
I do think we are in a critical time, and some major shifts are taking place. I really identify with St. Francis’ calling and vision from God to “Go and rebuild My Church.” The Church desperately needs repairing today. And as Benji Cowart tweeted recently, “I like this convo bc I have to think that Christ will not return to a divided bride.” Wow.
“This prayer is also for all the believers who will follow them and hear them speak. Father, may they all be one as You are in Me and I am in You; may they be in Us, for by this unity the world will believe that You sent Me.” - John 17:20-21
My confessional prayer is that I stop being cynical, jaded and critical…and that I learn to love the Church (and myself) as Christ loves Her. And when I offer up critiques and thoughts, that they would build the Church up and not divide Her.
“When I left, I loved Jesus, but I was tired of Christianity,” I said. “I tried to blame everything on the whole Christian subculture — but that isn’t fair. Here, I’ve learned that no one is my problem but me. Francis never judged the church, even when he didn’t like what it was doing. What right do I have to judge it? Spiritually, I just want something more.” - (pg 152 from “Chasing Francis” by Ian Cron)
(feel free to download the image and make it your phone’s wallpaper…or use it however you wish!)