With the celebration of another Reformation Day, I am reminded of the words of T.S. Eliot in his poem, "The Rock":
And the Church must be forever building,
And always decaying,
And always being restored.
David T. Olson, in his fine new book, The American Church in Crisis (Zondervan, 2008), comments: "Always decaying" indicates that every organic entity diminishes and decays over time. In fact, in the biological world, decay is often necessary for new life to appear. "Forever building" depicts the pattern of creative initiatives that promote life and vitality. Building may be unplanned or strategic, and that choice will usually determine the level of its influence and its longevity. "Always being restored" describes a spiritual and supernatural act of God. Restoration takes place when God acts through the power of the gospel story and the movement of the Holy Spirit, breathing new life into His church.