His Church and His Heart
Christ's love for the Church
Author: Chris Jeffries
A Letter to the Church – His words
Perhaps these words are a wake-up call to the Church. Turn away from worldly ways, put all your energies into just loving Christ - it really is that simple. For all those who read it and understand it, this letter is a challenge. It is a call for real and lasting change in the way we 'do' church. The focus must shift from adherence to traditions, structures, and practices to merely loving the one who says, 'I will build my Church'. Does his Church love and trust the King more, or does she love and trust the World more? She can't choose both, it has to be one or the other.
A Letter to the Church – His words
My dear people, I love you so very much and I know the love that you have for me as individuals. But I have to explain to you that it's not enough that you love me as individuals, I also need to feel the warmth of my Bride's embrace, I need to see her eyes filled with adoration and love for me. The Church is greatly loved yet she's estranged from me, and I want you to know and understand how I feel.
When you are far away from someone you love there is a deep longing in your heart, a sadness, an incompleteness, a hollow emptiness. And when the one you love is devoted to someone else, then your heart truly grieves. Every thought, every movement, every sight and sound is changed to heaviness and sadness and yearning. And that's how I feel towards the Church.
How can this be?
My Beloved, my Church, my Bride-to-be, where are you? How can you be so far from me? Who has stolen you from me? It is the World that has stolen away my Beloved. Every day she gazes lovingly into the eyes of the World, she walks in the World's ways, talks with the World, rejoices in the World's companionship.
I am grieving for my Bride-to-be. Every moment of every day I think of you and long to be with you, but you don't hear my voice calling. My love goes out but doesn't return to me, my heart aches to be close to my beloved, but she gazes into the eyes of another. I want to walk with you, talk with you, hold your hand, spend each day with you. But my Beloved prefers the company of another. Now do you see how I feel?
Ah, what pain you cause me. How you wound my heart as with a knife. I watch you pass by, hand-in-hand with another. I see you talking and laughing with the World, planning your life with the World. How I long to be close to you, but you are already close to the World. How I long to see you smile at me, and laugh with me – but you smile and laugh with the World. I want to take you to my favorite places and show you all the wonders of creation along the way, but all the time you are walking with another.
Now do you see how I grieve over my Beloved, and why? To understand, to truly understand, you must see how the tears rise in my eyes, feel the wretched hollowness that fills my being, know how I yearn and yearn to gather you to myself.
I will never tear you from the world. Love cannot do such a thing because love does not coerce or demand. Love will only wait in desperate hope, broken-hearted and full of emptiness. I need to show you this, you need to understand how I feel even though it will be no more than the merest hint of what is in my heart.
I am calling you to turn away from the World and return to me. I am calling you, my Church, to stop and retrace your steps.
I am calling you to hear and obey my guiding and leading voice, not the voices of men and women. Turn away from every method, every technique, every system and turn instead to me for I am the Source, the Truth, the Light, and the Life. Above all I am Love. Look into my eyes and see yourself reflected there for I am always gazing upon you.
Don't misunderstand what I say, there are many individuals who love me, walk with me, and dance with me. I love you as individuals, but I also love the whole and it is of the whole Church that I speak here. The fullness of my desire is for my Church. I will dance with her, my Bride, my Beloved. I will rejoice in her when she returns my love, but until then I will walk in pain and anguish as she gazes into the eyes of the World.
Some further thoughts – Merely my words
We must track back before the House Church, back, back before the Charismatic Renewal, back even before the Pentecostal Azusa Street outpourings. We must retrace our steps back before the Methodists, before the Puritans, before Martin Luther. Back, back, back, before Paul wrote his letters, before the events of Acts. Right back to Calvary where our Lord poured out his very life in love.
And when we arrive back at that point of beginning, then and only then can we see the Church stripped of all her love for the World. Why? Because love of the World began to creep in right there, right after the beginning. Just as, in the Garden of Eden, love of the World crept in right at the completion of creation, so in the Garden of Gethsemane it began to creep in at the completion of the work of redemption. We see it even before Love gave himself up to death, we see it in Peter's use of the sword. We see it later in Peter's denial. We see it in Ananias and Sapphira, in the divided Corinthians, in the foolish Galatians.
Now is the time for the Church to throw off her love of the World, and to turn to Christ who loves her and aches unceasingly for her love in return. He demands her undivided attention, He will accept nothing less.
What does this mean in practice? It means we must stop working for Christ and instead just love him and let him begin working in us. It means we must stop looking for the latest book, and listening to the finest teaching; instead we must look into his eyes and listen to his sweet voice as he teaches us and reveals his purpose. There are many who already know him as a personal Saviour and friend, now the Church as a whole must come to her Lord as Saviour and friend. Do you see the distinction between the many and the one? Although he loves us greatly as individuals, his best and finest is saved for pouring out on his Bride, the Church, in her wholeness. But this can only happen when she turns to him and walks with him along the paths he will choose.
Come, Church of Christ, come. Turn and see his love upon you and respond. Receive his love, dance with him, rejoice in him, make him glad. He is waiting for you, patiently and in great pain.
Chris Jefferies – August 2005
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