December 20, 2018

Invisible Church

You are my God, and I will give thanks to you; you are my God, I will extol you.
O give thanks to the Lord, for he is good, for his steadfast love endures forever.
Ps. 118:28-29 

I am part of a visible church, and I am committed to studying its scriptures, doctrines, and traditions. But it doesn't matter how much I study, how conversant I am with the confessions of faith, how steeped I am in the traditions of my people, if I cannot pray, not just You are our God, but also You are my God.

I have heard my entire life that the church is just one generation away from extinction, and it's no less true today than it was when it looked like Abraham would have no heir, or when Israel was carted off to Babylon, or when the Baby in the manger was exposed to the elements, or when he grew up and was nailed to the cross, or when the followers of the Risen One experienced persecution before they even got started.

Much is made of the state of today's church, but as long as there are people in the world, there will be a church: its visible members proclaiming to the Holy One, You are our God. But the true church, the invisible church, consists of all who confess not just with their lips, but also in the depths of their hearts, You are my God.

Thank you, Lord, that you are the God of all people. But I pause this morning to give you thanks that you also allow me to call you my God. For you are my God, you have been my God since before I was born, and you will be my God after breath leaves my body and my heart ceases to beat. Even then, grant me the privilege of singing your praises into eternity, for I confess that you are not the God of the dead, but of the living. And so I thank you once again that I am alive, and that you are my God, in the Name of him whose teachings brought this prayer to my lips...

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