“..But the years of peace and plenty was not to last. Slowly the days turned sour and the watchful nights closed in. Thrór’s love of gold grown too fierce and sickness had begun to grow within him. It was a sickness of the mind. And where sickness thrives, bad things will follow…..” – Part of the introductory monologue to ‘The Hobbit’
Perfectly healthy people have no need for hospitals. Only the injured, the ill, or those who might need to use one for a short while, the recovering and the expecting. Doctors, nurses, and specialists work together to identify and treat anything that has gone wrong so that people back to their healthy selves as quickly as possible.
It amazes me that the body’s immune system works in much the same way – certain cells are programmed to search out and destroy anything that doesn’t belong, they can also remember how they found and destroyed old illnesses to stop them before the start the next time they show up. The body’s natural messengers can say “Help us fight! Heat up to destroy this germ or that virus.” or “You’re about to toss those cookies you ate for dessert.” Just before that queasy feeling strikes and what you thought might happen actually does.
Which is why Scriptures comparison about the Church being like one body is so interesting – back in the day they wouldn’t have known about viruses or germs or genes or cells. But the way the immune system deals with sicknesses should be considered when the Church deals with sin-sicknesses. Like all forms of abuse or poor stewardship of money – that doesn’t belong. So the church should be able to detect it’s presence and send out cells to deal with it and remember what it was like so they can deal with it in the future. If a church can’t detect that it’s sick, it can’t fight it off and become healthy. If it can’t fight of sickness, things go from bad to worse. Really, when you think about it – a church is like a spiritual hospital – it’s a collection of people suffering from sin that needs to be diagnosed and treated so that they can return to a spiritually healthy state. After all, people who are spiritually healthy have no need for a church.