My friend Mark sent me a link to a youtube video of Derek Webb’s song The Church, and I must say: it’s been a long time since I’ve been moved by a song as profoundly as I was moved by that one (thanks a lot, Mark, you big jerk—you made me cry at a song).
Check out this video below, and be sure to read the rest of the article after the video.
We value the creative gifts God has given us. The Artistic Expression Series is about displaying examples from the Christian community that show a connection between the world of art and the life of Christ.
As our artist create, we want to encourage their hard work by publishing it in a forum like this.
Me or Us?It’s all too easy to individualize the #Christian life Click To Tweet
In this case, the song wasn’t affecting because it was a high-quality piece of musical art (though it certainly is that). Rather, I was moved by it because it speaks to a truth that I think is neglected in too many quarters of our highly individualistic Western church.
That truth is this: Jesus came not (primarily) to save individuals but to create a new people, his bride, the church. Given the cultural waters we swim in, it’s all too easy to individualize the Christian life, to make it something that is mostly about me—or at most, about me and God.
Yet inescapably, Christianity is about Christ and his bride, the church. God’s purpose was always to call a people to himself, to reconcile peoples in his son, to break down dividing walls, to unite Jew and Gentile into a new humanity, and through that new humanity to make his great and manifold wisdom known in all the universe. It is not through me and my faith that God seeks to accomplish this purpose, but through the bride of Jesus, the church (see Ephesians 3:10).
My Individual FaithIf I wish to participate in God’s purposes, I have to do that through the church. Click To Tweet
What all this means to me is that my faith, my renewal in Jesus, my relationship with God is bound up with the church.
If I wish to participate in God’s purposes, I have to do that through the church.
If I want my life to have real and lasting significance—and not just for this life but for the life to come—then I have to pursue that in the church.
Christ came to build his church (see Matthew 16.18), his apostles carried on that work, and someday Christ will return for his church. And at the end of all things, there will be a great wedding banquet at which Christ will be, at long last, united with his bride, the church (see Revelation 19.6-9).
So the reason that Derek Webb’s song made such an impact on me was because in spite of her neglect by the Christians of the West, Jesus is still passionately interested in his bride the church, for whom he accomplished his work on earth. And in spite of her neglect, my life has meaning and significance beyond reckoning because I am a part of that church.