How baffling you are, oh Church, and yet how I love you!
How you have made me suffer, and yet how much I owe you!
I should like to see you destroyed, and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal and yet you have made me understand sanctity.
I have seen nothing in the world more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false, and I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful.
How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face, and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms. No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, although not completely. And where should I go?
This poem perfectly captures how ambiguous our feelings towards the church can be. Believe me – even though I work in the church, I have felt the same way plenty of times. A case in point – during the last year I have been trying to find a way for the church to make a difference when it comes to the beggars we see on the streets here in Lund. To me this is a question of credibility for the church. Again and again Jesus urges us to see and help those who are in need. In Matthew 25:31-46 the ability to see Christ in those who need our help is what defines us as followers of Christ. So imagine my frustration when every attempt to make a difference have been put on hold due to church politics and bureaucracy. I mean, when Jesus was going to feed the 5000 he didn’t call board meetings or called in lawyers to do so. He didn’t talk about helping – he acted. Now I’m sure most of you have similar experiences in your lives as Christians. Being a part of a church can be really aggravating when the Church you belong to holds on to views or do things you yourself consider to go against the gospel. But this is when it is important to remember what the church is. It is so easy to view the church as an impersonal institution, but the church is actually us – you and me together. This is why it is important not to leave the church when we are disappointed with it – for this is when the church needs us the most. So stay in church even if you are frustrated with it and change it from within. Again – thanks to Leisa for the inspiration.