The church both is and can be a wonderful thing.
The church is wonderful because God has made it so. It is all of his redeemed. It is his creation. Since God has done it, it can be nothing other than amazing. When looking at it this way, we see that it is God who is wonderful in and of himself. The church is only wonderful as a connection to God's wonderfulness (not really a word, but it conveys the meaning I'm looking for).
God's church also has the potential to be a wonderful thing. This is the living out part of being who we already are in Christ. If you have been a Christian for any length of time, you've probably seen the good, the bad, and the ugly of church life. The potential for much good is there. So is the potential for much of the opposite.
What does it look like, then, when the church acts in a wonderful way?
Quite simply, the church is some kind of wonderful when we love the people around us as Jesus did. At first, that may sound cliche. However, it is anything but. It is a very profound and rare thing for people to actually live and act like Jesus toward others. Jesus Christ consistently gave of himself for the betterment of others. He looked to their good before his own. God in the flesh lived an essentially homeless existence for three years, constantly relieving the pain and suffering of others. He also taught life-changing truths. As a culmination, he sacrificed his own life in a horrendous manner so that we can know him.
The church, then, is most wonderful when we act like Christ. It's when we serve others instead of ourselves. We should not be surprised by this. Jesus told us that it is the servants who are great in his kingdom:
And Jesus called them to him and said to them, “You know that those who are considered rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great ones exercise authority over them. But it shall not be so among you. But whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be slave of all. For even the Son of Man came not to be served but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.” (Mark 10:42-45)
Let's all make a conscious decision to live out our part as Christ's church. It is not ultimately the form of the church that makes it wonderful (although this certainly matters). Rather, it is first our connection to Christ. Second, it is our servanthood to each other and to the world. When we live like Jesus, it is a rare and wonderful thing indeed.
(Credit for this post title goes here.)