Because The Church Is Our Pillar Of Fire

Benjamin West - Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant

“Benjamin West – Joshua passing the River Jordan with the Ark of the Covenant – Google Art Project” Licensed under Public Domain via Wikimedia Commons

For Christmas, we were given one of those little inspirational calendars. You know the kind. Every day you flip a page over and meet a new quote to great the day with. The person who bought ours got it from a nondenominational Christian community called Kenilworth Union Church. They call the calendar Day by Day, 2015. 

I’ve been enjoying the thoughts presented on the pages there. My wife keeps it current more than I do, being more diligent in turning the pages over each day. Sometimes the selection is a verse from the Bible. Sometimes it’s a quote from an artist of renown, or an esteemed writer, like Ernest Hemingway, etc.. Sometimes it’s a wise saying, or a quote from a respected politician like Abraham Lincoln, or a scientist like Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, or people I’ve never heard of, like Lucy Larcom.

Usually on Sundays, the selection is from the scriptures or is overtly religious. That figures, huh? This past Sunday the passage was from the thirteenth verse of the twenty-first chapter of the Book of Exodus. It reads as follows,

By day the Lord went ahead of them

in a pillar of cloud to guide them on their way

and by night in a pillar of fire

to give them light.

Upon reading it, my first reaction was “those lucky folks! To have visible proof that God was in their midst, leading them forward, never abandoning them. How magnificent that would have been!” Of course the story goes on to remind us that the people grumbled against Moses, and against God, despite His presence among them. Still, what a sign to bring comfort to the weary. The certainty of knowing the God was with them.

And then it hit me.

For us today, this sign of God’s presence is The Church. The Bride of Christ is for us what the pillar of cloud and pillar of fire were to the Israelites. Our Eucharistic Lord resides in the tabernacles of countless parishes, and Emmanuel (God with us) is His name. The Church teaches us, guides us, challenges us, provides for us, and carries us to the Promised Land. And ain’t it the truth that we grumble about her the same way the Israelites grumbled about Him?

I don’t have much more to say about this because either you see the parallel, or you don’t. I hope you do see it. Look past our petty squabbles and see The Church for who She is, and join Her throngs as we seek to worship the Lord with all our hearts, all of our souls, and all of our strength. For as St. Joan of Arc, patroness of this blog, put it,

“About Jesus Christ and the Church, I simply know they are just one thing and we shouldn’t complicate the matter.”

Amen.

 

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