Saturday, January 29, 2011

A Wretched Scullery Maid

Matt Harrison writes in "A Little Book on Joy" regarding the paradox of the holiness of the Church even though Christendom is divided, full of sinners, with flawed leaders, and plagued by false doctrine:

This is at once disturbing and comforting.... It is comforting because --despite its outward appearance, despite the fact that there have been times in the history of the church when the pure teaching of the Gospel all but disappeared from the public confession of the Church and its practice-- nevertheless, the "gates of hell shall not prevail against it." The Church endures because Christ endures...." (page 164)

My pastor has an additional reason to explain the comfort found in the simultaneous aspects of the Church's holiness and her sinfulness.

I am a saint and sinner. If I expect a sinless Church, then what does it say about me who is not sinless? The holiness of the Church is an article of faith [as per the Creeds] and not something we see. As I learn to believe that, I learn to believe that my own holiness is an article of faith, a gift of God, a declaration that is true even when my experience is less-than-holy.

If God can call the Church "holy," then maybe He can call ME "holy" too.

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