When Band-Aids Aren't Enough

The book Night of the Grizzly tells the true story of 1972 bear attack in Glacier National Park. Two young women who were camping in the park were mauled to death in separate attacks by a rogue bear. This story might not play very well today— it actually blamed the bear, not the victims, for the attack. And the heroes of the story were rangers who tracked down and destroyed the rogue bear.

In the story, there were two doctors vacationing in the park that did their best to save one of the victims. Both knew from one look at the victim that she had no chance of survival, but they valiantly fought top save her anyway. As they worked to repair the damage caused by severed limbs and severe tissue loss, they noticed a young, dazed park ranger putting peroxide and Band-Aids on scratches. One of the doctors later remarked how struck he was by the irony. Here was a woman literally eaten alive, and someone was putting Band-Aids on scratches?

OK, this is a pretty visceral illustration, but we need to see the point, I think. Doesn’t it seem at times like the church in putting Band-Aids on scratches? We can find ourselves so embroiled in trivial things while the more important things of the faith are ignored. Jesus died to make us one, to tear down the dividing walls between us and we seem intent on building those walls back while the world goes its merry way to hell.

Some of the issues that those in my religious tribe have fought and divided over in the past now seem pretty silly when viewed from the distance of time—multiple cups in communion, individual Bible classes, the support of orphan homes, the use of modern Bible versions, whether or not we worship with instruments, and the list goes on. What is it that seems so important to us today that will seem silly in 100 years? How many people can or can’t hold a microphone during church? Whether or not women can or can’t, must or must not, take a more active role in the worship service? Whether we like to admit it or not, most of the things that we have fought and divided over are about how we do church in the hour or so we are together on Sunday mornings. Is this really the essence of the gospel message?

The world around is bleeding and dying and needs the gospel of the resurrected Savior.  Dare we waste our time and attention putting Band-Aids on the scratches? Perhaps it’s time to not focus so much on what we do “in church” and focus more on being church, the body of Christ ministering to a dying world? How do we do that? Surely we must start by putting down the Band-aids.