I walked through the wood on a winter day. A pleasant day. A pleasant path. Hints of green winter grass poked up amongst the brown. Some of the trees sported bare branches. Some did not. Some trees designed to keep their leaves. Some not, instead waiting for the new growth of spring.
And I came upon a field. A field peppered with tree stumps. Some with just the branches broken off. Some with much broken off. Some entirely toppled. Some cut down. Some still standing. Some younger new growth. But mostly I saw twisted, broken, dead.
I paused and pondered. Maybe a fire. Or a windstorm. Maybe a disease in their roots. Or possibly a drought.
So I asked. Jesus, what happened here?
This, he said. Is my church.
I paused. Your church, I asked? Is this what you see, Jesus?
He let me move from pause and return to pondering.
Is this what we have wrought, I thought? I this what we are doing to our people? His people? We’ve created a field of brokenness?
In the summer, it probably looks different. Leaves covering the broken, save for the severely damaged. But now, in the winter season, the broken are all too easily seen.
Is this true of your church, Jesus?
In times of prosperity, when things are going well, we don’t see the broken people, the hurting people, save for the severely damaged. But when difficulty comes, when times are hard, the truth is all too evident.
Is this what we do with our wounded, Jesus?
Like new growth growing among the broken, have we kept our focus there, delighting in the new life, but forgetting about the hurting?
There are places, Jesus said. Where my church takes care of the broken, the needy, the hurting, the outcast. Other nations where my church grows and is filled with life because it gives life.
But not here, I asked?
No, not here, he said.
Jesus, forgive us.
So, I’m going to camp here for a bit, too.
Because my heart, like the trees, is breaking for what we have wrought.