Sunday, April 21, 2013 | By: Jake

Attracted to the Brokenness

We finally walked around the Old Church to the main entrance, walking inside the remains of what once was the largest church, the church of Amsterdam. During the Reformation, the Church was greatly destroyed, and nothing remains but large, empty spaces, broken windows, cracked ground...

A continual remembrance of what once was...

But even remembering what once was, I was still greatly troubled. The large organ loomed above, intimidating all who walked below it.

Clearly full of beauty...architecture...I'm not saying that place didn't look impressive. It just felt empty. For once in my life, I think I understood what juxtaposition meant, and I'm hoping that my 11 AP English Teacher would be proud. Once again, how do we become an active church that actually goes out and seeks social justice?

I'm not sure why we have the idea that being welcoming means that we also have to be completely tolerant.

Although I'm sure a service at the Old Church would have been very spiritual, holy, and powerful, how welcoming would it have been? Would it have been something that people did because they felt that they had to? Or was it a church that people wanted to go? Furthermore, are our churches today places that people want to go to?

The remains of extravagant stained glass, attempting to display the glory of God...I try to think of what it would have looked like back then

Is it wrong to say that I think it looks more beautiful now? Am I wrong to say that I'm attracted to the "brokenness"? This imperfection?

Back in October when I went on a fall retreat with Iron Sharpens Iron, we had some time of worship and were singing "Like a Lion". When we came to the bridge, the worship team forgot how it went and started singing a bit too early. For a good 15 seconds, the song was a complete mess...everyone was struggling.

But we were struggling together...sure, the song was a mess, but we were all fighting to get through it. I have always been made aware of the power of grace when there is a mistake in worship music. It helps us realize that we are broken, that we do need God, that we couldn't get through this alone.

And I wonder if this church ever showed that brokenness until now. I wonder what the priests looked like, what everyone was wearing. Did they seek to show their brokenness?

I'm going through St. Augustine's Confessions for my class with Fr. Dunne, and in the first few pages, he presents this idea that all glory should be considered shameful...

Talk about conviction...

This idea that we shouldn't be putting on a show, that we shouldn't be hiding our true selves, that we should be open with our struggles, vulnerable in our conversations, humble in our confessions...

Otherwise, it'll just be'll just be empty. We don't need an empty church...we need a broken church.

Because we are broken.

I walk across the stone floor and see the name by which I'm called, by which I'm identified with...

And I connect with the Jacob within the Old Church...realize that I could have been born in that time, that I could have been one of the people in this church...

It's hard to not be pious, and possibly even harder to "market" the Gospel. I always think, "Who would want to join a broken community?"

But then I think deeply about it, and when I really start thinking about it, I think a broken community is exactly what we need.


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