Our glorious capital ‘C’ Church

Today I have the pleasure of talking about two of my favourite things: author C.S. Lewis and the band Casting Crowns. Both of them have much to say about the church, not just the local church, but the capital C “Church”. By this I mean the fellowship of believers that is spread around the globe, through all time and space. The Church is the Bride of Christ. We are all part of this if we are in Christ. The “crowd of witnesses” in Hebrews 12 help make up this great gathering of God’s people. They can already see the reality of the things we hope for in Him. And they cheer us on to persevere with the small ‘c’ church, no matter how frustrating it can be at times. God’s Church marches on as he unfolds his plans. What a great grace and privilege that God draws us into something (Someone!) much greater than ourselves, much greater than the here and now.

But when it comes to Church we often can’t see the wood for the trees. And Satan would happily keep us distracted in this way!screwtape  In The Screwtape Letters, Lewis describes the strength of the Church. These are fictional letters between a senior and junior devil. (For those not familiar with this classic book the main topics of their correspondance is how to discourage Christians, distract them and weaken their faith. Totally worth a read if you haven’t!)

“. . . the Church as we see her spread out through all time and space and rooted in eternity, (is) terrible as an army with banners. . . that, I confess, is a spectacle which makes our boldest tempters uneasy. But fortunately it is quite invisible to these humans”. (Letter 2)

“We want the Church to be small not only that fewer men may know the Enemy but also that those who do may acquire the uneasy intensity and the defensive self-righteousness of a secret society or clique. The Church Herself is, of course, heavily defended and we have never quite succeeded in giving her all the characteristics of a faction . . .” (Letter 7. By the way, by ‘Enemy’ these devils mean God)

Oh, that we could see the glory of Christ’s Bride! (That’s us!) Casting Crowns’ songwriter Mark Hall takes up this topic, looking forward to the final union of the Church, the Bride of Christ, with the Bridegroom, Jesus. Listen and read the lyrics below. I particularly like the description (verse 2) of the highs and lows of the Church through history. Despite these we were made to wear Christ’s robes of righteousness, on that wedding day! The love of Christ has come and set us free, indeed!

Wedding Day – Casting Crowns

There’s a stirring in the throne room
And all creation holds it’s breath
Waiting now to see the bride groom
Wondering how the bride will dress
And she wears white

And she knows that she’s undeserving
She bears the shame of history
But this worn and weary maiden
Is not the bride that he sees
And she wears white, head to toe
But only he could make it so

When someone dries your tears
When someone wins your heart
And says your beautiful
When you don’t know you are
And all you’ve longed to see
Is written on his face
When love has come and finally set you free
On that wedding day, On that wedding day

[Verse 2:]
She has danced in golden castles
And she has crawled through beggar’s dust
But today she stands before him
And she wears his righteousness
And she will be who he adores
This is what he made her for

When the hand that bears the only scars
And heaven touch her face
And the last tears she’ll ever cry
Are finally wiped away
And the clouds roll back as he takes her hand
And walks her through the gates
Forever we will reign