I want to be in church right now, I don’t want to be in church right now; that’s the great ambivalence.
Plenty of people, myself included, detest the institutionalized and “branded” church for many good reasons. Yet, it’s The Treasure within those churches that I yearn for. I am not talking about the personal bank accounts funding the budget, beautiful modern or ornate fixtures, and trappings of this or that program or amenity.
I am talking about the real Treasure within the Church; you. I miss being with *you* on Sunday.
It’s worth repeating for emphasis, the Treasure is you. You are the Treasure. You are a Treasure to me.
Jesus didn’t die on the cross and rise from the dead to create an institutionalized fan club of alienated members singing in harmony while their hearts are in discord. His Atonement didn’t clear the way to the Father yet call us to obstruct fellowship, objectify heartache with cliched answers, and judge each other with worldly “us vs. them” thinking.
That’s why I as an openly gay man am not with you this morning. I am not able to get beyond the label placed on me of being one of “them,” today. My hurt and anger have led me to respond in kind in some ways; making it all the more hurtful.
When some think of the treasure within the church they quickly, and rightly, point to the parable of the “pearl of great price.” That’s all true. It is heartbreakingly awesome that we have a Savior who would go to such lengths to lead us Home. Also, if you have been a Christian just a short time, you know that parable also works in other ways as well. Including how it can be seen as showing us that the Treasure we have in Christ is worth everything as well. This post cannot be written without mentioning that; it’s of primary importance.
However, The Treasure I see is in you, as a peer; you’re worth transcends estimation. If I were looking you right in the eyes, I would say, with full belief and conviction, I *know* you are a treasure to this world and to the people you are in a relationship with. I love the song of your life. You are a Treasure regardless of what any of us, or maybe even yourself, see. Even favorable judgments of you aren’t enough, you are a magnificent mystery; a person even a God fell in love with.
When Jesus looked out at the people torturing and killing Him, He didn’t see a failed, murderous and hypocritical church; He saw The Treasure, His Bride.
I am not Jesus. Thank God, literally, or we would have all been doomed during my first three-year-old tantrum. If we made it past that we definitely would have seen hellfire and brimstone the first time I tried to drive in Los Angeles traffic! I am not anywhere close to the suffering and pain Christ went through. Not anywhere near that, but the hurt and suffering that keeps me from wanting to sit next to you in a church today are something I need to take His lead in looking past. My past is checked with trying to live out something I wasn’t, but when I fell in love with the real Treasure within the Church, His Bride, that was genuine. I miss Her. I miss us.
I miss you.
My Spiritual Home is with Christ in my heart, but if He could see beyond His heart to the Treasure of you, I yearn to take my place next to you on Sunday mornings again.