Monday, February 3, 2014

For the Love of the Bride (or, why I am attending ENG#14)

It's hard for me to imagine Christ being excited about returning for His schizophrenic North American bride, who is constantly tearing at her own face and hands, trying to remove the 'blemishes' that cause her to despise her complexion. With her teeth, she tries to chew through the cords that bind her ankles, while her hands tie new knots in the same places. But He loves her still. And He is longing to fill her to overflowing that She might be a beautiful picture, a compelling foretaste of the coming kingdom.

In the book of Revelation, we are presented over and over again with a strong and compelling image of a triumphant body of faithful witnesses who follow the Lamb at all costs and in all circumstances. Church with a capital C. The bride of Christ, who remained steadfast in her allegiance despite all temptation, seduction, and abuse.

In a world full of back-biting, defensive, belittling sarcasm, and stubbornly drawn dividing lines... we, the bride, must be different. We are committed to following the slaughtered Lamb all the way to the cross, and this includes our dialogue with one another. Too many vocal church leaders use words and The Word to accuse, blame, attack, and attempt to tear down those who oppose, making claims to be the truth tellers of our generation... which is why I cherish the Ecclesia National Gatherings. Although there is bound to be some banter and self-aggrandizing wit, there is also an honest admission of ignorance, weakness, and a humble longing to hear from Holy Spirit and from one another as we seek the Spirit's leading together. Although there are still more men than women, still more whites than non-whites, there is a longing and a hope to see the Church more fully reflect the diversity of the wedding feast of the Lamb.

This group of people, who long to see the fulfillment of God's Story, played out in the life of the Bride, are the people that I want to explore some of the hard questions of Scripture with. These are people I trust to be good listeners, humble learners, and Spirit seekers. Will you join us as we seek to bring the Word to life? Find more about ENG#14. Register here.

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