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Thursday, December 25, 2014

Union With Christ # 35

Functional Union (continued)

Inclusive Function: Expressing the Personality - Christ (continued)

There are several matters connected with this. Let us look in the first place at some things of relative or secondary account. It is possible to exaggerate the Body. That is sometimes done in the physical, human realm! Such an assertiveness, such an elaboration, such an aggrandizement, such an adornment and decoration of the external, the body, the fabric - to the hiding of the personality - so that the thing which impresses is the form, the pageantry, the external, no the presence of the Lord. It is that which touches the senses of men, so that their sight is taken up and their human natural senses of perception are occupied with the externals of the Church and often with the people themselves making an impression, and the Lord Himself is not to be found. It is possible to exaggerate the body; and apart from that - possibly exaggerated - observation, in many other ways we can bring the "technique" of the Church, of the Body of Christ, how it must be done and so on, so much into view, that all this is occupying the attention instead of the Lord Himself. The very teaching can obscure, if we are not very careful. Unless the Lord, the personality within, transcends all the means employed, then there is something wrong and we had better reconsider our means.

In the next place, it is possible to make the body "artificial"  - now I am on very thin ice! - by titivating and decorating and painting. And what is it all about? It is an attempt to create personality where it is felt to be lacking. Forgive me if this make any reader feel uncomfortable! But that is its underlying object - to make an impression, to carry weight, to give a sense of personality, or to make up some conscious lack. It is possible to be so occupied with this elaboration in connection with the Church in order to make an impression. How much of it, indeed, is already being done by the organized Church, with this object in view. All sorts of things are being put on, taken on, employed, all the paint and gilt and tinsel, all the artificial, in order to try to overcome this sense of a lack of impact, in order to make an impression because the impression is not there naturally; and it is quite possible to make the Body of Christ artificial, and its registration an artificial one, which will wear off unless you put more paint on and still more. You have to keep to going or it will fade out. It has to be done every morning!

~T. Austin-Sparks~

(continued with # 36)

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