I love the book “The Living Church” by John Stott very much. Close to the end of the book, there is section titled, “I Have A Dream: The Living Church”, inspired by Martin Luther King’s speech,
“I have a dream of a church which is a biblical church—
which is loyal in every particular to the revelation of God in Scripture,
whose pastors expound Scripture with integrity and relevance, and so seek to present every member mature in Christ,whose people love the word of God, and adorn it
with an obedient and Christ-like life,
which is preserved from all unbiblical emphases,
whose whole life manifests the health and beauty
of biblical balance.
I have a dream of a biblical church.
I have a dream of a church which is a worshiping church—
whose people come together to meet God and worship him,
who know God is always in their midst and who
bow down before him in great humility,
who regularly frequent the table of the Lord Jesus, to
celebrate his mighty act of redemption on the cross,
who enrich the worship with their musical skills,
who believe in prayer and lay hold of God in prayer,
whose worship is expressed not in Sunday services
and prayer gatherings only but also in their
homes, their weekday work and the common things of life.
I have a dream of a worshipping church.
I have a dream of a church which is a caring church—
whose congregation is drawn from many races,
nations, ages and social backgrounds, and exhibits
the unity and diversity of the family of God,
whose fellowship is warm and welcoming,
and never marred by anger, selfishness, jealousy or pride,
whose members love one another with a pure heart
fervently, forbearing one another, forgiving one
another, and bearing one another’s burdens,
which offers friendship to the lonely, support to the
weak, and acceptance to those who are despised
and rejected by society,
whose love spills over to the world outside, attractive,
infectious, irresistible, the love of God himself.
I have a dream of a caring church.
I have a dream of a church which is a serving church—
which has seen Christ as the Servant and has heard
his call to be a servant too,
which is delivered from self-interest, turned inside out,
and giving itself selflessly to the service of others,
whose members obey Christ’s command to live in the
world, to permeate secular society, to be the salt of
the earth and the light of the world,
whose people share the good news of Jesus simply,
naturally and enthusiastically with their friends,
which diligently serves its own parish, residents and
workers, families and single people, nationals and
immigrants, old folk and little children,
which is alert to the changing needs of society,
sensitive and flexible enough to keep adapting its
program to serve more usefully,
which has a global vision and is constantly
challenging its young people to give their lives in
service, and constantly sending its people out to serve.
I have a dream of a serving church.
I have a dream of a church which is an expectant church—
whose members can never settle down in material
affluence or comfort, because they remember that
they are strangers and pilgrims on earth,
which is all the more faithful and active because it is
waiting and looking for its Lord to return,
which keeps the flame of the Christian hope burning
brightly in a dark, despairing world,
which on the day of Christ will not shrink from him
in shame, but rise up joyfully to greet him.
I have a dream of an expectant church.
Such is my dream of a living church. May all of us share this dream, and under God, may the dream come true!”
What really moves me is the last paragraph, that the Church being an Expectant Church. What a glorious vision! Everyday we should be filled with expectations and joy, knowing that a day is coming (although we do not know when) that we will welcome Him and establish the New Heaven and New Earth with Him. This is the Hope of Glory, Christ in us. Behold this hope of glory, brothers and sisters. Come Lord Jesus.