The Church as a tool

Wednesday, July 18, 2012 - 14:26

Recently, I heard a little piece of wisdom that went like this, “The Church is a tool.”

The person who said this did not elaborate, but I have been thinking about that ever since. Here are some of the tools I see in the church:

It is a pointer. It points us to Jesus and his love for us. In iconography, whenever “Our Blessed Mother” is pictured with her son, one of her hands always points to Him.

It is a smoke detector that warns us that there is something seriously wrong.

It is an alarm clock or an early warning system that reminds us that we have a limited amount of time to get ready for our meeting with the eternal Father.

It is a safety harness to catch us when we need to keep from falling. It is a great help when we have lost a loved one and grief makes us weak and venerable.

It is fishing net that sweeps through our society and sometimes catches some big sinners.

It is a quiet resort that gives us a place to sit and think.

It is a good book to inspire us and makes us want to learn more and at the same time it teaches us how we can live and how others have failed, or succeeded, but this book also teaches us how God is faithful in His great love for us.

It is a church bell. When the bell rings the sound drifts out softly over the country side. It calls us to prayer. It reminds us God is calling us to remember him wherever we are and all times of the day. I like the idea of a bell because each bell has its own tone. Each bell is made slightly different and will produce its own unique tone and that tone can change depending on the weather and how it is struck. God calls each individual in a unique way. Some people find the sound irritating, some people find it comforting, and some people just ignore the sound of the bell and God calling them to His love.

It is a paddle on a canoe. If we use the paddle correctly we get some exercise and it moves us to our next destination. A paddle is a funny thing. When I was much younger, I had to teach some inner city kids how to row a canoe. The paddles were often slapped on the water in an uncoordinated effort, often producing a lot of anger and frustration. A paddle looks so simple, but if you have never used one it can be difficult to realize when to put it in the water and what direction to push it through the water. Believe me, it takes a lot of coaching to teach two kids that have never been in a canoe how to work together so they actual go in a straight line. Church can look so simple, but if you have never worked with one it can seem very difficult, but it only takes a little practice.

It is also the anchor that keeps the boat from drifting onto the rocks. It doesn’t take much of a breeze to move a big ship. It doesn’t take much of a temptation to move us away from the safety of sacred space.

We all use tools on a daily basis. I hope this list helps someone to see God’s love in their lives.


This column is the opinion of Marguerite Culhane of St. Andrew Catholic Church in Eagle River.

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