There's been a lot of talk around the blogosphere lately about "church" - what it is, how to "do" it, how not to do it, the institutional church vs. the "Acts 2" church vs. the house church vs....(insert any type/model of church here), etc. I'm still taking it all in, reading posts and comments, and I'm not sure I'm 100% ready to jump into the fray (not that it really feels like one). I am sure I will probably never be 100% ready to "take a side," per se. I'm not sure there even should be sides... But I read something the other day that cleared something up for me that I'm not sure I even realized was cloudy...
You can find the full text of this here. It's a book by Rick Joyner called The Vision. The Vision is just what it sounds like - it's a record of a prophetic vision. I'm not going to defend it; people I know trust this man, and I've read the book, and it sits right with me. We all come at the prophetic from different standpoints, and I respect that, so do with it what you like - but hear me out on this bit, ok? If you are reading it, scroll down a bit to a section called "The Wind of the Spirit." I'll put it in context a bit for you, and quote the part that's relevant, but I'd encourage you to read the whole thing sometime when you have the time. I've learned a lot from this book.
The Vision is incredibly allegorical and begins with a battle scene - a description of the battle that Christians fight on their way up to the mountain of the Lord, the various things that we will wrestle with, and the many ways in which we can be wounded. The author has at this point in the vision ascended the mountain of the Lord (on which the battle is raging, as well as below on the plains), he has worshiped Christ in the Garden up on the mountain top, and has now been sent back down to the battle to aid his brothers and sisters in Christ. He is, at the moment, in the company of an eagle, who begins to flap his wings so that a gentle breeze begins to blow. This breeze is later identified as the wind of the Spirit. And as the wind blows, the wounded begin to worship with deep sincerity, and then those on the mountainside begin to worship as well....
"At first there was some discord between the worship that was coming from the different levels," writes Joyner, "but after a time, everyone on every level was singing in perfect harmony. Never on earth had I heard anything that beautiful..."
After a time, the wind stops blowing and when he asks why, the eagle explains that it is because the wounded are now whole, and that the Holy Spirit has begun to bring about the unity that is required for the upcoming battle. "True worship can heal any wound," the eagle tells him, and explains how, as the body of Christ, His blood flows through us. In our physical bodies, blood flows to the wounded parts and brings healing - and so it is with the spiritual body of Christ - the church. His blood flows to all who are wounded - through the rest of His body. (You should really go read that section - the author said it so much better.)
But isn't that a beautiful picture? (Ephesians 4 provides a good backdrop for this; esp. v.15-16.)
In the fall of 1993 I was part of a Vineyard church, and I cannot tell you how many times in the 5 years I attended that church it was prophesied over me that I was to write and sing songs of freedom over the nations. I lost count. And I believe it to be true. I have no idea how God will bring it about, what it will look like in the long run; I suspect it will be much different, and much better than I have imagined...
I've talked before about the first time I fasted and the call I felt God gave me specifically that day for my life. It has a lot to do with bringing healing and wholeness to the broken; among other things: loosing the chains of injustice and untying the cords of the yoke, setting the oppressed free and breaking every yoke... rebuilding the ancient ruins and ... raising up the age-old foundations; (being a) Repairer of Broken Walls, Restorer of Streets with Dwellings... (from Isaiah 58)
Repairing broken walls...hm. This sounds... familiar, somehow....
Consequently, you are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God's people and members of God's household, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus himself as the chief cornerstone. In him the whole building is joined together and rises to become a holy temple in the Lord... - Ephesians 2:19-21
Yes. I think so... and I think I knew it, I just hadn't made the connection that worship was the key to rebuilding the wall... I'd disconnected them as two parts of my calling, not realizing it was all part of the same thing.
Over at A Former Leader's Journey, Barb posted her thoughts on this whole church/community question that some of us have been thinking about, and my friend Sara commented on that post. One of the things Sara said jumped out at me immediately:
"Here's what I think. Community and worship have to be two sides of the same coin. You can't have the kind of community God calls us to without doing worship together. Real worship. And you can't really worship with people unless you're willing to do the nitty-gritty-living-in-each-other's-lives sort of community . . ."
And that gets tricky. Which is why we need the wind of the Holy Spirit to blow over and through us, to breathe life back into us, healing back into us. Some of the wounds we suffer were caused by others in the church. (This is explained with vivid imagery earlier on in The Vision.) Those wounds need to be healed. One of the ways that healing will come is through our worship together. When our eyes are fixed on Him, everything else eventually becomes what it was meant to be. Eventually. Some of it may take a lifetime to be set right. But healing, freedom, wholeness - it's possible.
"At first there was some discord between the worship that was coming from the different levels, but after a time, everyone on every level was singing in perfect harmony. Never on earth had I heard anything that beautiful..."
We are all in different places, and there's a bit of discordance at the moment... but it does not need to stay that way. Nor will it - because the wind is blowing...