If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been kind of quiet here on the blog and on the Facebook page for the past week. I’ve been doing a lot of reflection for the past week about the state of the modern church and how that has impacted my life personally. This morning, my husband said, “why don’t you just talk about this on the blog?” I was a bit anxious about doing that because this site was never started as a place for me to talk about personal issues or things other than total wellness. But yet, here I am doing it anyway. :)
Today is Good Friday, the day we remember the crucifixion of Jesus for our sins. Or at least that’s what we’re supposed to be doing, right? But I’ve realized there’s a deep sadness within me for the past few years over how little the modern evangelical church commemorates the sacrifice of our Lord. In fact, it seems to have become rare for the Word of God to be opened and discussed within the church. There has been a dwindling of traditions to observe important occasions within the church. And as preposterous as it may sound to some, we have been in more churches than not that don’t even discuss the Word except for having one or two verses displayed as part of a Power Point display. There are no talks of sin (they are now weaknesses to be overlooked), no remembering that hell is a real place, and service to others appears absent unless one is called to be a foreign missionary. Ideas have replaced doctrine and sometimes even prayer is seen as a legalistic work. And God forbid if a church doesn’t work out for you! You are cut off; shunned; discarded. The ones who said you were welcomed now swiftly disregard your existence or that you once had a friendship (you should see the number of people who have unfriended me on Facebook. And the ones who no longer speak to me at all! Let’s not go there, it breaks my heart.). Community as brothers and sisters in Christ, regardless of the location of one’s church membership, is gone. I certainly can’t find it. I have been shunned, ignored and disregarded more times than my heart can bear at this point in life. We don’t condone these things, but it seems hard to find places of worship that have not left the substance of our faith.
I spent the first almost 10 years of my life in what was called a Bapti-costal church: a Baptist church that recognized the Baptism of the Holy Spirit and subsequent gifts. There was heartfelt praise, dancing, and clapping. We went up and were anointed with oil for healing of whatever we needed. Miracles were seen. We had regular services where the leader washed the feet of everyone in the church, as an act of service. But we also studied the scripture. Yes, there was error there and some who were strangely occupied with end times. That church eventually split up and we were forced to go elsewhere, where we weren’t wanted and didn’t fit in. In some ways, I’m still that 10 year old girl whose parents were divorcing, who had lost my church, friends and family. I’m still looking for where I belong at times. There’s no longer any anointing oil, just prayers of faith. Giving to the poor is replaced with demanded tithing. Because it’s all about you, not Him (note sad sarcasm).
It’s all become…disappointing. Where is the Head of the church within the church? As charismatic Christians, we obviously place a high value on the gifts of the Spirit, but that also is not the overarching essence of Christ. I appreciate prophecy, Words of Knowledge and the like. But something’s still missing. It seems we go to church, but can’t find Him. Communion is rarely done, if ever. Does this no longer matter in the modern church? Have coffee bars replaced the communion table where we eat of His body and drink of His blood? Where are the altars for our tears? Now if we try to approach the front of a church for this practice, security guards might intervene to make sure you don’t *dare* come near any of the ministers. You know, the ones who are the servants of the Lord’s body. Sigh.
I went shopping this week for a few things for easter baskets and dinner. However, I realized that’s truly all I have going on. How can this be right? How can it be that all there is to Easter is a nice dinner and some candy? I know no others ways in my own life to make the passion of Christ a memorable occasion marked by any real tradition of scripture. This is no longer acceptable for my family.
I’m not sure where this walk of sadness will lead us. But I do know that I don’t want my son to remember Easter as just an occasion where we eat a nice meal and eat candy. Today, thought I’ll be having my usual day, in my heart I will be remembering the heavy burden of sin the Lord was taking upon himself. For us, for me, for you. I will carry this sense of sadness as I realize that very few in our society will see today as more than another Friday.
So yes, this is a lot to take in. I know it seems rambling, but I’m not going to edit it at this point. These are my raw thoughts.
What are your thoughts? How does your life reflect your beliefs?