A Tangible God Who Descends To Rescue The Worst Of Us
In this evil generation we’re all in the dark about something. We’re all inevitably overcome by the darkness of sin and death. We’re led to the acceptance that we’re not just doing the wrong things, we’re things born wrong. Even in churches that are supposed to protect us, we often find ourselves unprotected. In the Lord’s house we’re intended to be watched over and nurtured. We’re gathered together to be shepherded in life and peace. But, too often, we’re made to fall. Devoured by our own kind. Christians annihilating Christians in God’s Name. Instead of drowning us in grace, churches teach: “Believe in God. Belong to our church. Behave yourselves and you’ll get to heaven by and by.”
But what about the ones who struggle to believe? What about the ones who just give up? People who imagine God doesn’t listen to the prayers of fags, sluts, drunks, posers, burnouts, and rejects? What about the ones who feel more accepted at A.A.? At the bar? At the homeless shelter? At the country club? What about the crowd who’d never walk into a church? What about the ones who believe they’re just bad?
The solution isn’t churches adding more support groups or specialized ministries. No. Only Christ can walk into our darkness and not be swallowed by it. Only God’s Spirit can draw us out of the crushing weight of loneliness. Only the Gospel can empty the emptiness, to fill us with hope. Only the Father’s faithfulness can wash away the walls that separate us from Him; blockades that keep us from being washed away, from disintegrating. Only God’s baptismal promises give us the courage to stand naked and unashamed in spite of our nakedness.
We’ve all been used and used up after being brought into the communion of saints. Many hiding behind the name “Christian” help us intending to abuse us. To make us their emotional garbage can. To be a Trojan horse for their self-hatred. A hired gun sent to shoot down their enemies in the street. A son to be molded in his image. A clerk who can be her errand boy. A slave who can build their walls for them.
But, it’s alright. Christ died for them too. What’s done to us is done to Him who bore the humiliation and shame for us. His bloody suffering and death brought from darkness into the Light. The light of Resurrection hope. The Light of Christ’s faithful loving kindness revealed to everyone. Even Christians. Christians sent out from the empty tomb and upper room to preach the Good News of Jesus Christ, because that’s what He’d have us do.
No one’s nothing. We’re created by our heavenly Father. No one’s a bad thing. He looked at His work and said, “It’s good.” Nobody’s all gone wrong. “Christ is our Good Shepherd.” Names like fag, or slut, or drunk, or poser, or burnout, or reject don’t fit us anymore. Especially not the baptized.
In the Church, baptism defines us. It puts God’s Name on who we are. We are baptized into a community of saintly sinners. People located by God Himself at a particular time and a particular place for a particular reason. We’re called into the body of Christ in Baptism. We’re the embodied, physical location of Christ on earth. No questions, no confusion. His body and His blood given; Us receiving Him as gift. No body and no blood? No bodies and no Church. No forgiveness. No faith. No hope. None of God’s love.
God is an embodied God. We are His embodied people. That’s something we’ll never be able to find or enjoy anywhere else. What makes the church “Church” is Christ’s embodiedness for us… Christ poured over our heads, into our ears, and down our throats. A disembodied God is as bad as no God at all. But an embodied God is where something is going on for us and for all people. A flood of grace washing us into the Resurrection. AMEN.
EDITOR’S NOTE: If you found this subject interesting, you may want to read or listen to Dr. Rosenbladt’s The Gospel For Those Broken By The Church, available here for free.