The phrase ‘pillar of the church’ is a well known one, and I guess most hearing it used would not misunderstand its meaning. The fact that a church is not meant to be a building, and if it was, why would it have to have pillars, seems to be neither here nor there. We read the meaning into those words that make sense of the phrase. It doesn’t bear too close a scrutiny.
But what about referring to a person as a ‘gateway of the church?’
Now, in this case, you would have to look at the words, and try to gather a meaning that justified even bothering to throw those words together. Do it, though, it’s worth it. You probably owe a tremendous amount to just such a ‘church gateway.’
I am referring to the church as a group of people, a group who have a common belonging to each other because they love God and share that one with another. A congregation, if you like.
Within that group there will be gate people.
They can be obstructive gates. Ones that hold power, and don’t allow others opportunities to grow, develop and benefit. They may be incredibly hard working and dedicated, but unable to move enough to let others pass. (No one springs to mind at All Saints, I hasten to add!!)
And then there are those people who by their love and example simply show what is possible to do, to be, and do it in a way that enables you to copy, learn and receive. To discover new freedoms in Christ. Some will do it by getting you to work hard, to take risks, or simply to recognise you have gifts to give.
They are the way you enter in to new things. Know what I mean?
Now they are true pillars in the church!