“Jesus replied, ‘Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.’” —Matthew 16:17-19
Steering the ministry fleet during this time of global pandemic highlights the navigational challenges many ministers face in leading their congregations. They can end up exhausted, discouraged, or defeated. However, in the midst of much uncertainty, I have seen one great truth stand out: God’s church will not be overcome. The Church of Christ, His body incarnate on earth, is transcendent.
Transcendence in Sacrifice
Sacrificial giving always exceeds the actual net worth of any offering. This means that despite our limitations, when we give to the Kingdom, the results are disproportionately multiplied. Consider the little boy’s loaves and fish; consider Christ’s words concerning the widow’s mite. Our limited talents, offerings, and services are useless unless we invest them in the Kingdom. Then, they are potentialized through God’s power.
During the recent months, I have observed how churches of all sizes are attempting to “do church” online. The results may vary, and our abilities and shortcomings are obvious. However, the Church of Christ has literally covered the globe via social media. As in the days of the printing press, technology has again become our ally. The Church is everywhere! Amid our economic or technological limitations, the Church is doing whatever it takes to proclaim Christ. God is able to use us at our weakest, in our insecurities, and despite our feeble gifts. He renews His Church when we are no longer what we had been before (Ephesians 2:10).
Transcendence Despite Selfishness
There is transcendence despite our selfishness. Christ is exalted far beyond our mistakes, short-sightedness, and ulterior motives. When I speak about selfishness, I am not referring to disobedience. I am referring to deep motivations of the soul that often escape our self-analysis. Yet if we are open to the Holy Spirit´s correction, the Lord can purify our wrong motivations. He gently confronts and uses our experiences to show us our natural selfishness (Philippians 1:15-18).
Transcendence in Salvation
Christ’s offer of salvation is the focal point of His reconciling, sanctifying work. We can perform a whole assortment of activities, but the essential mission of the Church is to preach Christ crucified to a dying world. Christ’s call is not to make us more similar to each other or even more pious. His call is not to make us admired among the nations. We cannot forget that Christ’s deepest desire for those around us is their salvation. The Church will only be the Church as long as it proclaims salvation through Jesus Christ. No one else can do that for the world (Philippians 3:4-11).
I have to remind myself regularly that the Church belongs to Christ. He is the owner, sustainer, author, and husband. He is in charge. My hope is that Christ will continue to use His limited, broken, yet transcendent Church to overcome the gates of Hell (Matthew 16:18).
Robin Brunson Radi, along with her husband and children, serves as a Global Missionary for the Church of the Nazarene in Buenos Aires, Argentina.
Written for Coffee Break.