“Thus says the Lord: As the wine is found in the cluster, and they say, ‘Do not destroy it, for there is a blessing in it,’ so I will do for my servants’ sake, and not destroy them all.”
As the prophet considered the nation’s behavior following their return from Babylon he was stunned at the way they rejected the Lord and adopted pagan practices. If he had been their God he would have washed his hands of the whole lot and allowed them to be totally destroyed. But from the inner recesses of his soul he heard the voice of the Lord speaking. The owner of a vineyard wouldn’t throw out the whole cluster of grapes because some were sour–there was still sweet wine to be made. So it would be with Israel–they could still be a blessing to the world. And so it is with the Church today. Even though many are rightly dismayed by its hypocritical practices and embrace of nationalism and are thinking of leaving, its core message of grace has not been lost. With all its warts and flaws it is still the Body of Christ, and through its influence the mission of Jesus lives on. Millions of hungry folks are being fed, the naked are being clothed, refugees are being welcomed, and the broken are being healed. Besides, if we were to leave the Church, where would we go? Where else could we possibly find such nurturing and gracious communities of faith? Besides, for better or worse, this is where Jesus lives!
Thought for the Day: If I did leave the Church, where would I go?