Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Metaphors of the Church


I have been gripped by a particular image of the body of Christ recently. A particular metaphor for describing the whole community of faith (the Universal Church), as well an apt way of depicting a small group of believers. Many metaphors exist, both biblical and from the depths of history. Some of these metaphorical images of the church are:
* An olive tree
* A field of crops
* A building
* A new temple
* A bride
* God's house

The image that grips me the most lately, is probably the most simplest. The church is a family. When followers of Jesus gather together, it is a family getting together.

So what grips me about this image of a family? Two things. Firstly a negative picture of the family of Christ. Many churches can be dysfunctional as a family, or have some elements of dsyfunctionality within their family. A get-together can become like a volatile family renunion, where some are not speaking with others, and some family members avoid their oldest sister, or their long lost Aunt.

What I appreciate on the other hand, is when I see the family of Jesus expressing love for one another; when disciples of Jesus are setting the example of true holiness and loving each of their brothers and sisters. I must say this is what I witness more than dysfunctionality, but I want to remind the Church, that we are a family, and we have many brothers and sisters who need our love, acceptance and inclusion.

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