British theologian Colin Gunton once argued that one shortfall of modern ecclesiology derives from the fact that it has rarely been rooted in the conception of the Triune God. This observation is worth consideration. I would argue that the unity of the Triune God, even as each member is distinct in his function to accomplish the plan of redemption provides a framework by which we can understand the unity and the mission of the church.
But even in the tears, the promise of resurrection remains solid—a foundation for our lives that will not be shaken, something that can help our hearts remain steady and firm no matter how much we grieve. We can take comfort in knowing that no matter what happens, no matter how much death haunts our life, the day is coming when we will sneer at death as a pitiful, shriveled up, old defeated enemy when seen in the everlasting light of resurrection life.
Over the last few thousand years, rhythm in the life of the church has usually been called “liturgy,” especially as it pertains to the form of corporate worship. The liturgy of corporate worship must be guarded so that it reflects the gospel of Jesus Christ. If this is true, then the church must pay even greater attention to the rhythm of its community life. The liturgy for life that the community of God enacts should reflect the story of the gospel.
We have a great temptation toward this thinking in the United States, as we breathe the air of individualism from an early age. Our sinful hearts hardly need any help, but our culture insists at every turn: be true to yourself, take care of yourself, believe in yourself. It isn’t long before our lungs are full of that toxic cloud and we lack the oxygen to think about others.
My wife and I sometimes joke about what our kids will tell their counselors someday, particularly after we lose our tempers, handle a conversation wrongly, or execute discipline poorly. “Just another things on his or her counseling list,” we will say. And of course, it is a joke. Mostly. We joke because it’s terrifying when you start considering how much you are shaping the hearts and minds of your children as a parent. It becomes even more terrifying when you realize you are shaping them even when you’re not doing it on purpose.