MX3 Blog #11 – The Living Church
By: Betty Valdes Ramones
A couple of days ago I was standing in the ruins of St. John’s Basilica —a church from the 6th century— and it only took one question to make tears flow out of me. The question was: “What do you find meaningful about this place?”
I think what struck me at that moment was that I was standing in the same place where people used to gather 15 centuries ago to worship God. Now, in the 21st century, the global church is still alive and, despite many obstacles, it has survived. This realization brought me to tears because I felt my faith increasing a bit more.
St. John’s Basilica is just one example out of many that can be found in Central Asia. This land is so rich in church history, and yet it seems that the essence of that history has been buried by other diverse traditions. In our travels we saw many churches from earlier centuries that were turned into temples that worship a different god. But despite this heart-breaking reality, we were also able to witness how God is still at work. From small fellowships that gathered in houses, to bigger ones that have a building; God is definitely at work in Central Asia! People are choosing to identify as Christ-followers and the community of faith is growing fast. A building or worship place does not limit God’s work. St. John’s Basilica is now labeled as ancient ruins, but those ruins do not reflect the current state of the church. Instead, St. John’s Basilica serves as a reminder of the resilient spirit of the church that continues to be present in the 21st century by the grace of God.
God’s church is indeed a living church.