One of the central metaphors for God and his people throughout the Bible is that of a groom and his bride. God is the groom; his people are the bride. I like this because it makes the church a “she.” We need to reclaim this image.
The church is a she.
She’s a mystery, isn’t she? Still going after all of this time. After the crusades and the Inquisition and Christian Cable Television. Still going. And there continue to be people like me who believe she is one of the best ideas ever. In spite of all the ways she has veered off track. In spite of all the people who have actually turned away from God because of what they experienced in church. I am starting to realize why: The church is like a double edged sword. When it’s good, when it’s on, when it’s right, it’s like nothing on earth. A group of people committed to selflessly serving and loving the world around them? Great. But when it’s bad, all the potential gets turned the other way. From the highest of highs to the lowest of lows. Sometimes in the same week. Sometimes in the same day.
But she will live on. She’s indestructible. When she dies in one part of the world, she explodes in another. She’s global. She’s universal. She’s everywhere. And while she’s fragile, she’s going to endure. In every generation there will be those who see her beauty and give their lives to see her shine. Jesus said the gates of hell will not prevail against her. That’s strong language. And it’s true. She will continue to roll across the ages, serving and giving and connecting with God and each other. And people will abuse her and manipulate her and try to control her, but they’ll pass on. And she will keep going.
(Taken from Velvet Elvis – Rob Bell)