One year, I went to a Middle School near my house to participate in See You at the Pole. For the uninitiated, See You at the Pole is a student-led event that happens on school campuses every September. Kids gather around their flag pole before class to pray for their school and our country. That day, as the kids prayed together, I noticed that there was a large stray dog who had wandered into the gathering. He was a pretty scruffy looking character, and he must have been attracted to this big group of people. At the end, we all made a huge circle around the flagpole for a final large group prayer. When we said amen, I noticed that the dog was surrounded by kids. All of them were petting him, scratching behind his ears. And this dog was in heaven. I've never seen a tail wag that hard. It struck me that this is what the Church is about. Needy, lost, unloved people should be drawn to us, and they should get showered with the love of God through the hands of people like you and me. That's the way it's supposed to work.
In our study of Ephesians, we've talked about God's plan for the world, for individual people, and for peace. All of those plans are meant to be accomplished through the Church. Organized Christianity has taken its share of lumps in recent years--most of them deserved. But the Church, with all its flaws, is still God's Plan A for accomplishing His transformative work on Earth. As far as I know, there is no Plan B.
So what part do we play in this? God expects us to be the "hands" of His Church. This Sunday we'll look at Ephesians 4:1-16, and see God's Plan for His Church.