Like the rest of us, I’ve been reeling from the news of the school shooting in Uvalde, Texas. For a moment last Tuesday, I thought that something so awful might bring people back to church.
And then I remembered what I was still reeling from last Monday: The news of sexual abuse by leaders at all levels of the Southern Baptist Convention, and a massive cover up, over 20 years. It was a lot like what happened in the Catholic Church.
Just what church are people supposed to go back to?
If even its leaders abuse the most vulnerable, then the church deserves to lose people’s trust. This is why Jesus aimed his harshest criticisms at the religious leaders of his day. One of his most famous confrontations occurred in John 8, where the leaders were willing to exploit a vulnerable woman just to discredit him.
People, even leaders, are capable of the worst kind of evil.
God’s own son was put to death by the worst kind of evil, which is, strangely enough, why people need to come back to church.
After Jesus fed the 5000, massive crowds followed him. But then he started to say things like, “My flesh is real food and my blood is real drink.” It was so hard, the crowds all left, including some disciples.
Jesus looked at the twelve and asked, “You don’t want to leave too, do you?”
Peter replied, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.”
People do need to come back to church. As broken as we are, there is still truth here.
And Jesus’ words of eternal life.