The Church Endures

The church is old. It has a long history and a deep memory. The church has suffered tragedy, dark betrayal, and heart-breaking loss. It has also experienced exciting success, life-changing love, and stunning victory.

The church is under constant attack by monsters that beggar our imagination. And yet it endures. The church endures because it is filled with the power of God. The church endures because God is still reaching out with the power of the Gospel to people trapped in sin—reaching out through the church.

In every generation there is always someone who declares that the church is outdated and unnecessary. Perhaps it’s because they can only see the outward organization. All they can see are flawed people, under-funded ministries, and the frailties and foibles common to every human being. That’s what the church looks like from the outside.

But looks can be deceiving. There is so much more if you start to look. It’s a lot like Joshua’s pile of stones. If you didn’t know, all you would see were 12 old stones piled up by the Jordan river. But if you asked, you would find out that they were a reminder of God’s power. They were a memorial of the day that God parted the Jordan River, brought his people into the promised land, and kept his promises. You would hear about the love of God who rescued his people from slavery, protected them on every step of their journey, forgave their wickedness and sin, and brought them home. The church remembers. The church is God’s people, gathered around Word and Sacrament, filled with God’s grace, broadcasting God’s love, and growing into the image of God.

The church endures. Its appearance cannot sufficiently convey its character. The church is a bastion of strength against the demons who hate all people and would destroy them. It is a hospital where sick and injured souls find healing. The church is a seminary where the works of God are remembered and taught. And the church is a clarion—calling out to sinners in every generation—offering life and peace to a broken and hurting world. It might not always look like it, but in every generation, God moves through his church.

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