The Church Triumphant

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A church as a hospital during WW1
“The church is not a select circle of the immaculate, but a home where the outcast may come in. It is not a palace with gate attendants and challenging sentinels along the entrance-ways holding off at arm’s-length the stranger, but rather a hospital where the broken-hearted may be healed, and where all the weary and troubled may find rest and take counsel together.” 

James H. Aughey

I have heard of a hospital in England that gives a loaf of bread to everyone who asks. This tradition has been going on for over 800 years. The hungry are fed at St. Cross Hospital by just knocking at a door. This hospital takes ministry very seriously.

Jesus Christ so loves sinners that He gives to all who come to Him. Hungry sinners have to do is knock. But there is more than this. He provides a bath to all who are filthy. A wardrobe to cover up any nakedness. A bed to everyone who is weary and sad, for the Gospel meets every spiritual need.

I like to think that there is room for the mentally ill at Jesus’ hospital. A safe place for those who are exhausted by their battles, a room where Jesus can bless those who are afflicted. I believe there is such a place. For my own soul has been comforted by Him.

The Church carries on the ministry— it’s a St. Cross Hospital— for the immense needs of human beings. The sons of Adam and the daughters of Eve can find salvation and comfort from a world that intends only to destroy. Furthermore we now represent Jesus to a desperate world. We become Christ-like for this reason. The Church triumphs during times like this.

The poor and needy– the sick, the lame, the mentally ill, the prisoner, the addict are the Church’s glory. This little group of rag-tag disciples are responsible for the care of the lost. We just need to figure out how we can reach them. The Holy Spirit will help us.

The World is watching us. We welcome this, for we are the salt and light lifted up so all can see. We were born to serve.

 “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? It is no longer good for anything, except to be thrown out and trampled underfoot.

14 You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.”

Matthew 5:13-14

We dare not remove and nullify our mission. When we do so we become nothing more than another institution that is trying hard to secure a place in this world, Our distinctiveness is “blood bought” and our mandate is to be  “the Salt and Light” in this dark place. It is our sure calling. It is the Father’s will. We will be the Church triumphant.

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Check out: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hospital_of_St_Cross

Lonely, or Just Alone?

“Loneliness was the first thing that God saw that was not good”

John Milton

Are you lonely? It really doesn’t matter if you are married or single. Frankly, those who have a spouse can be powerfully affected by a sense of loneliness. (They obviously are pressured to suppress this.) But they truly feel very much alone.

When we find ourselves affected by this issue, we think a lot about being alone. We become an ‘island,’ isolated and separate, and the intense figure of this is the ‘castaway’ of those who, somehow end up completely alone on a deserted beach. 

There is nothing ‘romantic’ or ideal about this experience.

After a week, we start to feel the isolation. It creeps in on us, expands, and begins to ‘feed’ on our perceptions. And that can poison us.

To define it, to be lonely is the absence of human relationships. But to be alone is to be without connections.  They can overlap sometimes, but they are very separate issues. The unmarried 40-year-old could be free from loneliness, and the person who is married (with several kids) feels quite lonely.

We cannot attribute our ‘heart issues’ to our response to isolation.

Some will thrive, and others chafe. Many derive a sense of well-being by becoming married. Essentially they choose the fallacy that this may just solve their feeling of loneliness.  If I cut my hand, a band-aid will not heal the wound, it can only help (on a superficial level,) but the healing comes from within us.

There is a definite need to see the unique situation and understand how it does fluctuate. Things will move and our attitudes may change. We can cross back and forth, and that is quite understandable. But embedded sadness over being alone can be disastrous to a full and amazing life with Jesus.

“And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may be with you forever.”

John 14:16, NASB.

We certainly need each other. That is ‘how we roll.’ But what is necessary and for certain is, “We are not alone, never.” The deep presence of Jesus can be profoundly close, and all we need is His nearness and our awareness, and it’s going to be ok.

There is so much we can do.

The first is to get real about the issues that are involved.  Go ahead and acknowledge the struggle you encountering.  Secondly, we need to admit the sin of harboring this, and even letting it to take control of our thinking. Thirdly, to actively turn away from sin, and then focus on Jesus as our dear companion and friend.

These three are just focal points. They will often take very different adjustments for each person. But they are definitely a starting point. Even as you work through this, allow the Holy Spirit to be your faithful guide.

 

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