Realizing Brokenness and Releasing Pride

The wooden pew beckoned, opening its heavy arms of home to me. I sat, and the verses of an old hymn poured over me, a familiar baptism. My leather Bible, creased with use, nestled in the folds of my lap. I was home in the house of the Lord.
One might peer in the window of this church and see the beauty without the pain, the saved without the sin. It is the facade of perfection clothed in the suit of wealth. And that one might turn away because this perfection is frightening, a heavy weight more than a freeing wind. You see, we have polished the scars in that old wooden pew too much. The shine blinds our eyes to whom has sat there in need of salvation. There is no honesty for the world in a perfectly polished pew. Not that the church cannot have nice things; sitting on the floor would not change this perception to the world. More that the world can see the remnants of the scars, the imperfections of the churched, and feel themselves welcomed home there too.
My Sunday dress to cover my scars and sins is no more honest than the wolf wrapped in sheep’s wool. I am broken, but I, along with myriad Christians, piece myself together with glue and glory and march in those high church doors, then close them to the brokenness I’m afraid I don’t have glue to fix. But glory is all I need, and God is boundless. So one day, I shed my Sunday dress and put on a t-shirt. My bruises peek out of the sleeves, but I can feel the Son. I leave the security of my home to travel tens or thousands of miles to dig in the dirt, and I see my savior in the faces of the people I meet. But even this becomes a salve for me. I am not giving up my bed, my dresses, my secrets to imbue the reality of salvation here. I falsely believe I can share without releasing some part of myself in the process. I have released myself to the God who saves but not to the ones who need saving.
This is not necessarily a call to traditional missions, although it may speak that way to you. It is a call to honesty that bridges the gap between churched and unchurched. It is unveiling our scars to reveal the healing that is possible and opening our hands to release our security of wealth. In our moments of vulnerability, we become the person outside the stained glass. We show the complete picture of grace, the beginning-to-end story of brokenness giving way to wholeness.
But we cannot accomplish this task without first seeing the pride that grips us. Pride prances in prettiness, marches in superiority, even whispers in piety. I have been too proud to be honest of the failures that mark me, failures of attitude and obedience. The church has been too proud to admit mistakes of office in this world, and the churched have been too proud to reveal their pre-Christ nature,especially when that nature continues to threaten in their post-Christ days. Can we, can I, shed that cloth of pride we’re in and live in naked honesty? In that transparent skin, all might see God within us. Then can we unclench our fingers that hold tightly to our riches in order to recognize brotherhood in poverty? In those open hands, God may work miracles of blessing beyond ourselves.

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