Sally came home from the Women's Wanting Wisdom Beyond #MeToo event last night proud to be part of a church like Central. She was extremely pleased with how the event went and talked about the work that went into bringing it together, the volunteers and staff who designed, coordinated and gave of themselves to put together a sensitive, timely, and hopeful night. She was excited about the size of the crowd that participated. And, she couldn't say enough about the young women who spoke, their strength of spirit and ability to share their powerful stories. It was a great night of church being church, she said.
The church doesn't always live into our ideals. Examples are easy to find and broadcast of the church failing to be what we're called to be. Like any other segment of society, when the church gets it right, it's not nearly as notable or noted as when we get it wrong. What's the ratio of times have you called a server back to your table to say the meal was prepared well verses the number of times you've called the server back because it wasn't prepared the way you wanted it to be? Similarly, what's the ratio of noticing when the church is operating as it should verses the times when you notice its problems?
That's human nature, I suppose. Even so, when we're people whose lives are to be lived in light of the resurrection, while we shouldn't be indifferent to our failings as a church, we, likewise, shouldn't be unappreciative of the times when we get it right. Jesus told us in this Sunday's resurrection account (Luke 24:36-48) that we are witnesses to his life, death, resurrection and to the gospel of repentance and forgiveness in his name. A witness tells what he or she has seen and experienced. "This is Jesus, as I know him..." "This is what Jesus has done/is doing for me..." "I've watched God work in this way..." "God, through the church, has..."
Last night the church's work to create a platform for people to share stories of how God has been at work meant young women were able to offer a witness. And, from what I understand, their witness was that God, through the church, was caring for them long before last night. It's been a process of grace - grace of love and support and fostering a relationship with God and the church before the great challenges began, while those great challenges were at their height, and in the time of healing since the events that caused their great challenges. I'm sure there are incidents along the way that the church would like to have done things differently, but their witness was that, on the whole, God used an imperfect group of people to help them along and, if most of us take the time to reflect, we can say the same thing. I hope we will take the time to.