Not only are we not the first generation to struggle with questions like “What is the church?” or “What does christian community actually consist of?” or “What does it mean to be saved?”…we’re also not the only culture/society struggling with those things.
To me, this brings up two points or reasons, both of which point to God!
- The enemy is always at work trying to bastardize our faith and the Gospel
- The Holy Spirit keeps bringing these questions to the Community of Saints because we must “work out our salvation with fear and trembling”
What does that mean? There’s hope!
And we’re not alone. If we’re not alone…if we’re not the only society or the first society struggling to “get it right” then there are enormous resources in our brothers and sisters across the globe as well as tremendous wisdom in our spiritual heritage.
I know I keep asking these questions:
- At its core, in the simplest manner, what is the foundation of a spiritual community?
- At its core, in the simplest manner, what is a believer/disciple/follower?
If I ask this question to my parents or my (living) grandmother, I might get a different answer than if I ask my peers. Or, at the least, the language of the answer may differ. But here’s the deal…my parents and grandmother have walked with Christ much longer than I have. They’ve struggled with these questions. They might not have it exactly right…but they certainly have history and perseverance.
I remember my grandmother one time talking about the “end times”. She said that if she was asked to deny Christ or die, she didn’t know what she’d do…she figured “they” would probably have to kill her because she didn’t know if she could deny Christ. In that moment I was undone. What a shift! God was so real to her over the years, she didn’t think she could deny Christ!
All of that to say…as we struggle with these questions (and struggle we must), read, question, pray, learn your history. But don’t be afraid to ask your spiritual fathers and mothers. Ask them to tell you their stories. Ask to hear about how God has been real to them, provided for them, gotten them out of tough spots. Ask them how they got to be close to God. Learn from their successes and failures. Draw from their strength and wisdom.
As believers, we have been given tremendous, wonderful resources. We have the Trinity working in our lives. We have the Word of God. And we have the glorious inheritance that is in the saints. We are literally surrounded by spiritual resources we wouldn’t even have the faith to ask for, yet we don’t recognize them because they are too familiar, too common.
Open our eyes that we might see.
Open our ears that we might hear.
Open our hearts that we may love.
Open our minds that we might learn.
Open our hands that we might serve.
God is and will be faithful.