Mothers for Prodigals

Sunday, January 18, 2015

Stitched, Stained, & Mended

After prayer, the congregation sat down. I reached for my Bible and journal as the pastor prepared to speak. That’s when I noticed the three inch mended tear in the seat cushion beside me. The defect ruined the entire pew.  

My initial thoughts at the sight of the “less than perfect” pew fabric centered on distaste and snobbery. While I glared at the gash, wondering how it got there, I heard a whisper. God uttered words of life into the moment and my thoughts transformed as His thoughts filled my mind. 

Staring at the image softened my heart. A picture of patched up people filled my mind and eyes as I glanced around the room. Ripped, stained, stitched, and mended, I saw people coming to Christ for restoration—our very reason for being in church! We don’t attend church to flaunt our perfections, we bring our flaws and blemishes to the Great Physician for restoration. This is a place for healing, not haughtiness.

Oh but how we “church people” judge! Many people refuse to go to church because of the hypocritical nature of us “righteous ones.” Why would anyone want to attend a church service only to leave feeling worse about themselves? When will we all realize our wounded sinful nature needs Jesus Christ and His church!

Church buildings dot the landscape of many communities all over the world. Some shine forth with the cross of Jesus Christ and others don’t. But a building is only a building—it’s what’s inside that counts (like our hearts). The church is comprised of a sinful body of believers in Christ Jesus, the Savior of the world. The word church comes from the Greek word ekklesia which means “an assembly” or “called-out ones.” The church is the body of Christ and He is the head (Ephesians 1:22-23). 

Glancing at the tear again, I envisioned stained captives, injured offenders, sick patients, depressed folks, even hypocrites. All come to the “hospital for sinners” to meet with the Great Physician, Jesus Christ. He heals broken lives. He presents His church to God Almighty, changed from tattered rags to pristine attire. 

Restoration happens when a person meets Jesus with honesty and repentance. His true Church is full of wounded and repaired people acting with the love of Christ, not flawless individuals pointing in judgment. We need Jesus and we need each other. So bring to church your stitches and stains and allow the Great Physician to mend all your hurts and pains. Share the good news with all you encounter and give Him thanks for His healing touch. 

Heal me, Lord, and I will be healed; save me and I will be saved, for you are the one I praise. Jeremiah 17:14 (NIV)

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