Who needs the church?  Husbands and wives need the church,  Our children need the church. And,


I remember a record album my parents owned when I was a child. Even though I was only in grade school, the lyrics of a certain song were emotionally moving to me, though I’m sure I couldn’t understand why. And in spite of a bit of dated language and imagery, that song still eloquently speaks the mind of contemporary culture, even some 45 years later:

Who Will Answer? Written by L. E. Aute / Sheila Davis. Recorded by Ed Ames (and others).

From the canyons of the mind,
We wander on and stumble blindly
Through the often-tangled maze
Of starless nights and sunless days,
While casting for some kind of clue
Or road to lead us to the truth,
But who will answer?

Side by side two people stand,
Together vowing, hand-in-hand
That love’s imbedded in their hearts,
But soon an empty feeling starts
To overwhelm their hollow lives,
And when we seek the hows and whys,
Who will answer?

High upon a lonely ledge,
A figure teeters near the edge,
And jeering crowds collect below
To egg him on with, “Go, man, go!”
And who will ask what led him
To his private day of doom,
And who will answer?

On a strange and distant hill,
A young man’s lying very still.
His arms will never hold his child,
Because a bullet running wild
Has cut him down. And now we cry,
“Dear God, Oh, why, oh, why?”
And who will answer?

In the rooms of darkened shades,
The scent of sandalwood pervades
The colored thoughts in muddled heads
Reclining in their rumpled beds
Of unmade dreams that can’t come true,
And when we ask what we should do,
Who will answer?

‘Neath the spreading mushroom tree,
The world revolves in apathy
As overhead, a row of specks
Roars on, drowned out by discotheques,
And if a secret button’s pressed
Because one man has been outguessed,
Who will answer?

Is our hope in walnut shells
Worn ’round the neck with temple bells,
Or deep within some cloistered walls
Where hooded figures pray in halls?
Or crumbled books on dusty shelves,
Or in our stars, or in ourselves?
Who will answer?

If the soul is darkened
By a fear it cannot name,
If the mind is baffled
When the rules don’t fit the game,
Who will answer?
Who will answer?
Who will answer?

The church . . . MY church . . . YOUR church . . . must have an answer, when the world asks for a reason to hope.  There are so, so many, people all around you, every day, who do not know the one true God, Who alone offers hope, and purpose, and meaning, in a world gone mad.

Our husbands and wives need the church.
Our children need the church.
Our world needs the church.

Now, let me sound just a bit contradictory here.  I do not mean to undo all I have said thus far when I say that some of the church needs a lot LESS of the church, and a lot MORE of the Savior in whom the church exists.  We will have NOTHING to offer our husbands and wives, our children, or our world, if our focus in the church IS the church.  Focusing on the CHURCH leads to staleness,  or sometimes to a misdirected passion, in which the church and the way we like it become the most important thing.  We MUST take our focus off of the church, and put it back on the Savior, our Lord Jesus the Christ.  Please understand what I’m saying — If the organization that we call “the church” is the most important thing to us, then we have nothing to offer our marriages, our children or our world that is any different than any other organization they could go to, except that the standards for participation tend to be much LOWER in the church than anywhere else.  But, if our focus is on our God and our Savior, and if HE is what we offer, then our marriages, our children, and our world will find here what they can find no where else – salvation; hope; deep, abiding love; healing for the emotions and the spirit; fellowship with Jesus;  being reunited with the Creator.

Our husbands and wives need the church.
Our children need the church.
Our world needs the church.

But only as the church holds out the Savior, and brings them to Him.

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