Last year I attended the funeral for a friend’s mother. Although I didn’t personally know this parent, I could tell by the service that she was a beautiful woman of God.
The service was held at St Luke’s Episcopal. Every time I go into that church, whether for a funeral service, a wedding or whatever business finds me there, I am struck by the beauty and joy of the many thousands of years of our heritage from Abraham, through the time of the Acts, and the many unrecorded years of struggle, martyrdom and victory since those early days of the church. As my friend told me weeks later, when we feel the joy of our heritage, we take our place in the long line of spiritual giants, that great cloud of witnesses Paul referred to in Hebrews 12:1-3, who are cheering us on as we continue to run the race of Christianity. For us, they are like the audience cheering for the Olympian who is sometimes in the lead, and sometimes dragging along behind.
Even today, as I sit in my house writing this, I remember the deep solemn joy I felt in that church on the day of that funeral where my heart felt the echo of the chorus of joy the saints and angels sing night and day in the throne room of the Almighty King of all things.
There is much said about the church having different denominations, but I like to think of different denominations like they are different bodies of water. Some churches are like beautiful streams, joyful as they rush over stones and fall into smaller pools down mini waterfalls. In the deep secret places of the forest, people and furtive animals come and drink and find refreshment.
Some churches are like great joyful, but solemn lakes, deep and strong and surrounded by giant trees, and glad meadows. Here too, people and animals find refreshment in the deep abundant waters.
Each place provides life giving water as they teach the truths of the Bible. Each place encourages others as they walk through this life. And just as there are inconsistencies with all types of bodies of water, so we all have our inconsistencies as well. It’s an opportunity to practice the forgiveness God has so blessed us with.
Each church has the opportunity to reach people in ways the other churches cannot. No place is more right than another as they honestly seek the Lord through his Word. Each church that teaches Jesus is the way to the Father has validity and merit in bringing the good news to those around.
I love St Luke’s and the high church atmosphere. Each morning, as I go by St Luke’s I ask the Lord’s blessing on her pastor and the people who attend. Will I change churches and start going there? No. My calling, my place is at Sooner Park Wesleyan. I love our church and the people in it and am glad to be exactly where I am. There is beauty in all places.
When the Lord returns and all things are new, all churches and all denominations that preach the good news of Salvation through Jesus will be joined as one. There will be no need for denominations in our eternity, just as there will be no need for the sun, moon and stars, because our God is the Light that shines in that eternal new Jerusalem.