At a wedding, what is the one thing people always seem to talk about? The bride. How beautiful or lovely she is. One of the ways in which the church is described in the New Testament is that we are a bride. We are meant to be something that people talk about and say, isn’t she lovely.
Another picture Jesus gives of the church is of a people who will be persecuted. We are told we will suffer for Christ. We will be rejected. It is a confronting reality. This is why the “one another” statements in the New Testament are so critical in the life of the church. When you feel opposed, maligned, mistreated and beat down, there is something life giving when someone encourages you, prays for you, shows compassion for you, honours you, forgives when you fail and loves you when you are imperfect. These “one anothers” are radical, counter cultural and attractive. The are also life giving in the face of difficulty. Jesus went so far as to say the mark of the church should be the people will know that we are his disciples by the quality of our love for one another.
Sadly, it seems all too often in our day the suffering for most Christians is not at the hands of those who sit outside the church, but those inside. We are not so much personally maligned or attacked from those outside, but rather we are treated with indifference. This is not the picture Jesus saw for the church. He seems to paint the picture of people looking at us and rejecting us because of our unapologetic following of Jesus, or people who are compelled to say “isn’t she lovely”.
Let all people know that we are Christ’s disciples, because of our love, one for another.