Rediscovering a hurting church

I don’t know what the etiquette is for sharing blog posts, but this one from my brother’s excellent blog today was too powerful not to pass on. 

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I happened to be in our local Emergency Room last night when I spotted a friend who had been brought in for treatment.

(Yes, I hang out in the ER – but only because my wife works there)

I went over to talk to this friend (who I’ll call Bob, to protect his identity) to find out what he was in for and if I could help in any way.

Bob told me this:

I have no reason left to live.

Bob’s reasons for feeling like there was nothing left but to ‘go home,’ as he put it, were quite compelling and certainly would have made life seem bleak for most people, were they in the same boat as him.

I didn’t try to give him any ‘wonder-cure’ answers because there is only one wonder-cure for people in his position – the grace of God. So I went straight to the top and talked to the creator of the universe for him, right there in the ER hallway.

I’ve been praying for him regularly ever since and truly believe that God can pull him up out of the mire he is currently in. Something occurred to me though, as I have been thinking him sitting there all alone in the ER:

This is where the Church is.

The Church isn’t just the happy people

This blog is about rediscovering the Church, rediscovering who they are, where they are and how they’ve been gifted by God. Yesterday I rediscovered that we often somehow forget that the Church, our brothers and sisters in Christ are to be found in ER’s, mental hospitals, nursing homes, AA meetings, rehab centers, under bridges and in a million other undesirable places.

It’s convenient for us to forget or ignore that our family is a broken, hurting family. We gloss over the pain with easy-to-say statements about God making us whole and fixing all our problems and so often ignore the fact that God doesn’t always do everything instantly, he takes the time to teach us and build us and he gives us responsibility to care for and help our family as they growing, learn and are refined and tested.

There’s a possibility that our family will be one member less today because Bob could end up taking his own life. Yet there he is, silently falling apart alone, tears running down his face as a 100 Million prayer warriors pray for the lost while they unknowingly lose one of their own.

How many others are there out there right now hurting, collapsing and dying while the very family they were reborn into rejects and ignores them for being ‘dirty’ or ‘back sliders’ or ’sinners’?

How many Christians are out there alone and lost because no-one’s ever taken the time to get to know them and care?

How many ‘Bob’s’ will die today without us lifting a hand or a prayer to help them?

How many?  

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(This article was originally posted here)

How radically transformative would it be for our culture if all Christians cared this much about their wounded fellow-pilgrims, and went out of their way to act on it?

I know you’re busy, but don’t be too busy to hear the cries of agony around you.  If your mother or brother or child was hurting, you’d drop everything and run to help them. Who are your mother and brothers?

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