There on the mountain that you have climbed you will die and be gathered to your people, just as your brother Aaron died on Mount Hor and was gathered to his people. Deuteronomy 32:50
“None of us are getting out of here alive.” Jim Morrison, Valerie Harper, Evel Kneivel, Colin Murphy, Hilary Swank, Jill Shalvis, Elbert Hubbard (and these are just from the first couple of pages of results on Google)
Life is terminal. We all get that. Dying is just a part of living, and that is an eternal truth. We may not like it, we may not be ready to fully embrace it, but it is truth. And eventually, it is a truth with which we simply must deal.
But have you ever thought about it as it relates to churches (i.e., to local bodies of believers)? Have you stopped to realize that there is not a single “local church” which has been around from the very beginning? All those “churches” mentioned in Revelation 2 and 3? Gone. Even the good ones. And the church you serve right now will die one day as well. It is the natural order of things.
Churches are, metaphorically speaking, living organisms. They breathe, they multiply, they regenerate, they get sick, and eventually, they die. They exhibit all the same signs of life (and of death) as any other living organism. My perception of “church” changed pretty significantly once I began to consider the implications of this.
In the first place, churches need nourishment and exercise in order to be healthy. The nourishment is the Word of God. The exercise is the stretching and bending and reshaping that Word constantly calls us toward. And it also is the challenges (even the persecution) which God permits us to experience. Exercise only …