Last night I had a dream that made me think of my mom. I was standing on a deck that went all the way around a tall building, leaning against a handrail and talking to some people from church. We were just shooting the breeze and enjoying the sunset when out of nowhere, this huge wave came up and soaked everyone (dreams don’t have to make sense!).
“Holy crap!” I said. “Where did that come from?”
Everyone agreed it had been unexpected. Then we saw another even bigger wave on the horizon, and that was when I woke up.
The dream reminded me of my mom because when she finally began the slow, final turn toward her death, she started having these dreams. In them she’d be sitting in our house somewhere and this black water would begin rushing in through the windows, gradually filling up the house, and potentially drowning her.
She’d wake up and she’d be calling “Tommy, Tommy” and I would rush into the living room in my drawers and sit on an ottoman by her feet (by this time she spent a great deal of time in the living room in her chair, often falling asleep there). I would say whatever calming things came to my mind, but I was 18, and the truth was that all I could think about was that I had to get up for school soon.
It didn’t take a genius to figure out that the water rushing in through the windows in dark gushes was the cancer that was slowly devouring her from the inside out. Even as a teenager I knew that. She never talked about it much, though. At least not to me.
When I woke up this morning, I ended up thinking about the wave dream all the way to work. I wondered if the huge wave was something in my mind that I equated with a threat to the church in the same way the cancer had been a threat to my mom? And I wondered if the wave on the horizon was the death blow to the church?
I wondered if there could be a death blow to the church? It doesn’t seem that way.
give thanks to The Lord, for he is good, his love endures forever
I wonder if the wave on the horizon was then just a death blow to the church as we know it? I wondered what that would mean (if, indeed, it meant anything at all)?
What threatens the church enough to make me fear for its life, even in a dream?
Is it gay marriage, and all that entails? No.
Is it abortion, and abortion “rights?” No.
I think the biggest threat to today’s church is today’s church. What does that mean? Lots of things.
I think congregational apathy is a huge threat.
I think focusing on what the church is against rather than for is a bigger one.
I think hating a sin so much we forget God gave life to the sinner as much as we, the “righteous” is absolutely not the right thing to do.
I think sometimes we try to please people so much we forget to please God first.
It looks bad for the church. It feels bad, and probably is bad.
But there is hope.
The hope for the “corporate” church lies in the same place it does for any lost individual: the capable and strong hands of a carpenter, teacher, and messiah.
We must must not forget that.
We cannot fix whatever ails the church on our own.
We cannot turn the lost toward Him on our own.
We cannot survive on our own.
We need Jesus.