One of my very favorite things to do is mark up books. I always hope for a few mostly blank pages near the beginning which allow me as I read to collect the delicious and challenging quotes in the front, so that when I take it off the shelf someday I can collect the gist of the book, and find the quotes I kind of remember but want to find again. A marked up book evidences its value, that it somehow connected with me and/or challenged me.
The late Rachel Held Evans book “Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church” is all marked up. The fourth blank page holds two quotes that captivate and challenge my view of the church at the same time. The first comes from Pope Francis, in his encyclical from 2013 entitled “The Joy of the Gospel”:
I prefer a church which is bruised, hurting and dirty, because it has been out on the streets, rather than a church which is unhealthy from being confined and from clinging to its own security…More than by fear of going astray, my hope is that we will be moved by the fear of remaining shut up within structures which give us a false sense of security, within rules which make us harsh judges, within habits which make us feel safe, while at our door people are starving and Jesus does not tire of saying to us, “Give them something to eat.”
The second, from Rachel Held Evans:
The Gospel doesn’t need a coalition devoted to keeping the wrong people out…It needs a family of sinners, saved by grace, committed to tearing down the walls, throwing open the doors and shouting, “Welcome! There’s bread and wine. Come eat with us and talk.” This isn’t a kingdom for the worthy. This is a kingdom for the hungry.
How are these thoughts comforting, and how do they challenge us?
Love from Here!