and saw the Lord speaking to me. ‘Quick!’ he said. ‘Leave Jerusalem immediately, because the people here will not accept your testimony about me. ” Acts 22:18
I went back home today. I grew up in Niagara-on-the-Lake, and I went to visit a friend from 45 years ago. During the pandemic we had found each other on Facebook. John now lives in Niagara Falls, where he has owned his own home since 1983. He worked in circuit boards, but also had been a custodian at a church for a few years. He is mostly retired, but is volunteering at various places. We had lunch together, catching up on family and memories about growing up a block from each other.
John did not grow up in any church. He came to faith as an adult, but now he has been hurt by the church as he moves to his senior years. The church did not treat him fairly. It is, for me, always hard when people criticize the church. It is not that they are wrong. They have been hurt, and it should not happen in the church or anywhere. His faith in God has not wavered, but his faith in the church has been tarnished. That is what is hard to hear.
I am not going to leave the church , Poole or the wider church. But how can I be a witness to the good that the church has done and is doing ? How do I name the wrong we have done, and still have the church be a place of compassion and justice ? I am part of a Facebook group that is made up of all kinds of believers. Many have been hurt by the church, and they have now left. We have to be honest that this happens. How do we repair the damage that the church has done ?
Forgive us our sins Lord
Heal our church. AMEN.