Leaving the hospital birth experience, I must have stopped by our little Church Street rock home for a diaper change and my first home meal. (Surely God has a sense of humor or a sense of destiny to give me an address on Church Street as my first residence).
It was January 1947. The next stop was church. My church met in a stucco brick building at the corner of Fox and Lake Street. There I began my life-long journey in church.
Members told me my church really started in A.D. 33. How did they know that? They weren’t living in A.D. 33.
As years past by, I noticed their church lived without history. In reality, their church saw history begin in 1926 when my uncle and two other couples started the church in my aunt and uncle’s home.
Upon reflections, their church viewed a limited history prior to 1926.
My life parallels church since 1947.
From the start of my 1947 church, I learned the status quo of the time. As far as I knew all truth was within its wall.
Sometimes the pulpit hosted visiting preachers. They might enforce the truth I already knew or on occasion add a new bit of truth to my truth sack.
I keep my truth protected and limited in my church.
Dangers stalk the walls of my 1947 church.
I will list three.
- It is far too easy to miss God’s greatness when I stand guard within the walls of my 1947 church. God works marvels across the face of His world in diverse ways. His great acts could build my faith if I will open the gates of my local congregation and witness His church in action. My church will then become more like His church.
- Whether I realize it or not, my church did not actually start in 1947. It emerged from a historical context of over 2000 years. With historic influences of Europe’s Enlightenment, my church has deep roots transplanted in Colonial America’s Great Awakening. Our nation’s Civil War influenced its early years. My church holds certain beliefs sacred that came more from this period of history than from Holy Scripture. If I hold these beliefs too tightly, I stand in danger of harming the unity of Christ’s church.
- I run the danger of my 1947 church turning irrelevant. In reality, truth comes from Jesus, as He is truth. My fear is, should I cling too tightly to the cultural baggage and things I mislabeled as doctrine, my church could actually hide Jesus instead of share Him.
It is not and never was my church.
My desire is to be faithful to Jesus and belong to His church. Only in His church does the hope of harmony exist.
Gary J. Sorrells – Reflecting on the Cross Church.