To be a part of a church is to be a part of something big in a way the world can’t understand. Wal-Marts and soccer teams and small businesses and nation-states will all disintegrate and slip back into the sand someday. But the bride of Christ, the church of the elect ransomed by the blood of the eternal Messiah? Buddy, neither death nor height nor depth nor time nor persecution nor the gates of Hell will wipe her out. She will be beautiful and alive when every other human collective has broken up or broken down.
The world tries to trick us into thinking that its next big story, whether it be Bruce Jenner or Hillary Clinton or the finale of the Voice, is more substantial than a few Christians praying in a crummy room to a God somewhere out in space.
But the demons know otherwise.
I’ll bet you my lunch that the forces of Hell tremble more when a house church in China prays in a dim, unlit living room to their Father for faithfulness than when the lights come on and the Grammy Awards start or the kickoff for the Super Bowl takes place.
To followers of Christ: The headlines and images scrolling across our screens seem so real, so much more deserving of our attention than the worn Bible on the table or the gathering of Christians on Sunday morning. And not just them, right? I mean it’s not just the headlines that seem more real than the faith, is it? Phone calls, appointments, school events, papers to write, grass to cut, hair to have cut…
But the joyous eyes of Heaven and the furious eyes of hell know what’s real, know where the most important choices are made and where the eternal energies are spent. There isn’t one dead person who could come back to the living, whether they’re in judgment or in paradise now, who would tell me, “You should spend more time watching The Bachelor,” or “You spend just the right amount of time worrying about money.”
I’m pretty confident I’d hear something like, “What are you doing? Do you know what eternity is? Do you know what is coming? Why are you living like today is all there is?”
The church is the sort of the thing the world finds confusing or offensive or pointless because the world values the wrong things and loves the wrong things. But when this galaxy is flipped on its head and every human being gives an account to its Maker, all the series finales and track meets and financial anxieties that seemed so big and so real will look as small as they really were, and those who esteemed them too highly will see what bigness really looks like. Hell will be thrown into a lake of fire by hands of steel and every celebrity and pro football coach and president, soldier, and accountant will bend his or her knees before the beautiful Jesus who’s returned as rightful King.
And at that moment the church who most of humanity thought was weird or unnecessary will be presented to that King as the bride He’s come back for. And as the roughest places are made smooth and the highest of heights of leveled, there won’t be a single heart who won’t for the first (and last) time know what was really important.