I like The Bachelor. I know it’s shallow and awful, but I can’t stop. I even went on Hulu last week to catch part of an episode I missed. Now that I confessed it, can I throw someone under the bus? I started watching The Bachelor because my wife likes it. At first I would pretend to be reading or playing guitar, but eventually I just gave in. When you love someone, you grow to love what they love. Ephesians 5:25 says: “Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her.”
We often make a big deal about how Jesus loves individuals, which is really important and true. But in the Bible, those individuals are called together as His church, the bride he died for and is coming back for. Jesus deeply loves the church. He is passionately committed to the church. When Jesus talks about the church his voice goes up a notch, his pulse beats faster and there are tears and fire in his eyes—just like when you are sharing about whatever is closest to your heart.
This is why my brain misfires a bit when someone says to me, “I love Jesus, I just don’t care for the church.” They launch into all their issues and frustrations, which are all really valid, but I sit there thinking, “How could I truly love my wife, and at the same time be totally against and actually filled with disgust for the thing that she loves the most?” That would be some kind of dysfunctional relationship.
Sunday after our last service ended I stood at the front of the building surveying “the wreckage:” people still getting prayer over here, people laughing over there, kids running around, people in our welcome center getting connected in groups, new friendships being made, one person who had just made a first time commitment to Christ received her first Bible. My eyes started to well up with tears. I just couldn’t stop thinking, “Jesus loves this stuff.” Really. Not just in the cliché way that we think about him loving kitty-cats. I think he chest-bumps angels when someone gets over their fear and walks through the doors for the first time, or when someone nervously signs up for their first small group.