In-Sight: Love the Head—Love the Body

As I begin the new year, I want to do so with the intention to cultivate my love for the Church.  I remain troubled at the ways in which the notion of “churchless Christianity” can creep into view today.  Sometimes, it even comes couched with an alleged superior spirituality attached to it.

I’m also troubled because I have to confess that I have moved in circles that often speak more about separation than unity.  This is not to discount the severe problems that infect the Church today.  I am only confessing my belief that we can think about “leaving” so much that we end up being better at doing that, than we do at staying at the table to address the problems.

But my resolution to remain committed to the Church is based upon two great theological truths as well—both of which came to me through an article I read during the holidays.

First, there is a clear connection between Christ and the Church—a “head” and “body” relationship.  If we love the Head, we must love the Body.  In fact, a head without a body is gruesome.

And second, the Church will be at the forefront of the new heaven and new earth spoken of in the Book of Revelation.  Here, the Church is the Bride of Christ, and as members of the Bride, we will participate in the final wedding ceremony.

So, there is no life if the head lacks a body.  And there is no wedding if a groom lacks a bride.  Despite all its sins and failures (a number of which I contribute to myself), the Church “is of God.”  I want to use 2012 to renew my love for Her.  Will you join me?

About Steve Harper

Dr. Steve Harper is retired seminary professor, who taught for 32 years in the disciplines of Spiritual Formation and Wesley Studies. Author and co-author of 45 books. He is also a retired Elder in The Florida Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church.
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5 Responses to In-Sight: Love the Head—Love the Body

  1. Pastor Kim says:

    I will certainly join you in renewing my love for the Church. Your reference “love the head, love the body” made me think of how we humans sometimes love all the beautiful things about a person but want to have a relationship without also taking the difficult parts of the person. Staying in dialogue is difficult sometimes, but if we are faithful to Christ, we must.

  2. Keith Harcombe says:

    Yes! This is also hard when many “good” well meaning Christians are constantly criticising her! She is beautiful even if there are bits we don’t like I guess.

  3. Steve Harper says:

    In reply to the request for the article about the Church that I referred to in this post, I can only say that it was a recent e-devotional that I receive each day from Richard Rohr. I have not been able to see how these are archived on his website, so I cannot refer you to the specific one that sparked my thoughts for this post. But I remember that it was in relation to my second point–the church as the Bride of Christ and the heavenly “wedding” that will take place one day. As I pondered that, my mind went back to the “Head/Body” image, which became the first emphasis of my post.

  4. Gene Maddpx says:

    Please tell us the name of the article you read. Thanks!

  5. Tom pope says:

    Ephesians 3:10 God’s intent was that through the church God would manifest his wisdom… How can this occur if we separate ourselves from the church?

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