“But here at this table, sitting among us as a friend, is the man who will betray me.” – Luke 22:21 NLT
Today, it is fashionable, perhaps even viewed as a higher level of spiritual maturity, to disconnect from the church out of disappointment for what she has become. As one person said to me once, “The church is too full of fakers who aren’t really following Jesus.” Bound up in that attitude is the mistaken belief that, at some time in the past, the church was pure, composed of nothing but fully-devoted Christians.
The sacrament of communion is the quintessential expression of church participation and continuing identity. Yet Jesus included the very same man that would betray Him in the inaugural communion event. When confronted with Jesus’ statement, The apostles did not point fingers. Instead, they asked, “Is it me?” Most importantly, no matter how messed up that first group was, none of them left after Judas’ betrayal.
Yes, the church is flawed. Yes, it is full of people who do not follow Christ perfectly. But when you leave the church out of disgust for its condition, you put yourself on a higher pedestal than the apostles did. Instead of saying (as they did), “Is it me?” you are claiming, “It’s not me!”
The apostles never stayed with the church because it was pure (or even mostly pure). They stayed because the world needed Jesus, and the church was His chosen instrument for bringing the world to Him. Embrace the church as Jesus does, for it is His bride–flaws and all.