During a seminar on ways to revive the church the Lord showed me a picture of what we were trying to achieve and how we needed a completely different paradigm. Our approach was to try to find new ways to revive the church – as though the church was the organ of life and salvation to a chaotic world. This is certainly the received wisdom in many places. I saw a picture of two people – one a church growth specialist and another an intercessor/prayer warrior jumping up and down on a dead horse attempting to bring it to life. This vision was not about the church Jesus is building. It was about the institutional church and the mistaken assumption that this institution is the mediator of Kingdom life.
There are advantages in house churches, cafe churches and the truth that the church is Jesus as people rather than some contrived grouping. The church, like the trinity is relationship. Which means that it’s not about venues. It’s about Jesus alive and manifesting as us. There is huge scope for variety here as well as grace to do what we have become comfortable with – so long as this is not an excuse to wither on the vine.
Nevertheless, Christ’s Kingdom will not come because we have figured out new ways of doing church. His spirit and life will appear where we are live in what we already have – ourselves as the homes of the trinity. And each of us as an expression of the Son of God. This is our inheritance already. When we stop living in the fiction of separation; when we stop touting our institution as the ‘way’ to undo a fictitious separation between the people and God; when we stop perpetuating the great darkness as if it is light and start living in the incarnation - then we will be the church Jesus is making without human hands.
On the day we realize that we and Father are one, we as individuals and the church will begin mediating the life of God into dead people and dead places. “On that day you will realize that I am in my Father, and you are in me, and I am in you.” John 14,20.
It’s not that no life is at present emitting from the church. It’s just that we have drops of the water of life when we can have rivers of living water. Each of us are one with our Father. As such each of us are the impartation of life to the church – not consumers attempting to leech life out of an institution that comes close to being an idol.
We are one with God. ‘He has made the two one.’ There has been an at-one-ment. And the trinity have incarnated themselves in our being. We have union with God. Walking in the light is believing this and stepping into this reality every day. Jesus life is our life. The fellowship of the trinity with each other is our fellowship. God in us. This is the living out of Holy Communion. So let’s live in our inheritance.
Don’t expect that adding Holy Spirit to a religion of law and old covenant separationism will become a fix for a dormant church. It takes union with God to be a new creation and sons of God who are sons in spirit and truth to be kings and priests. Richard Rohr writes,
“Much of my criticism of religion comes about when I see it not only affirming the system of normalcy but teaching folks how to live there comfortably. Such religion just increases our "stuckness" in the old world, as does a lot of poor psychotherapy. Cheap religion teaches us how to live successfully in a sick system … That's why many people need more and more therapy or addictive religion as they "adjust" to a sicker and sicker environment. If we do not question the underlying lies, we can psychologize and theologize forever. As a general rule, we need more and more of what doesn't work. If it worked, we wouldn't need to keep increasing the fix.” Richard Rohr, Everything Belongs.
‘Stuckness in the old world’ can be seen when we insist on our own theology over the mind of Christ and when we adopt the fiction that we are bearers of a variation of the gospel when what we have is a different gospel altogether.
‘Stuckness’ sees us dormant and sleep-walking, trying old things or new keys to overcome our ‘sick system’ in the hope that we can revive it with a Holy Spirit boost or a church growth ‘solution.’
‘Stuckness’ is blindness. If the elephant in the room is that we have another gospel that is an aberration, an adjustment or a delusionary ‘improvement’ to the gospel of Jesus and the apostles, we need not expect that Jesus will add water and fertilizer to our tares. But we can thank God that He with the angels and men and women of integrity will set about pulling them out.