Sometimes I think we have a mixed up way of looking at church. When you read your Bible, you find that the first century church was a gathering of God’s people who came to be strengthened in God and went into the world to live out the gospel of Jesus Christ – you know, that often used phrase, “we are the hands and feet of Jesus”. Marva Dawn, has some very specific thoughts on “Going to church”. Dawn is emphatic…”We are NOT going to church! We are going to a sanctuary to participate in an order of worship together with other people of God gathered in community to be nourished by all that we do there together so that we can go out into the world and BE THE CHURCH.”
“Be the church…” What does that mean to you?
One of the individuals in our Tuesday group suggested saying more about what we believe it means to be a “member” of a church. Here’s what the PCUSA (Source: PCUSA Book of Order G-1.0304) believes about “Membership in the Church of Jesus Christ is a joy and a privilege. It is also a commitment to participate in Christ’s mission. A faithful member bears witness to God’s love and grace and promises to be involved responsibly in the ministry of Christ’s Church. Such involvement includes:
- proclaiming the good news in word and deed,
- taking part in the common life and worship of a congregation,
- lifting one another up in prayer, mutual concern, and active support,
- studying Scripture and the issues of Christian faith and life,
- supporting the ministry of the church through the giving of money, time, and talents,
- demonstrating a new quality of life within and through the church,
- responding to God’s activity in the world through service to others,
- living responsibly in the personal, family, vocational, political, cultural, and social relationships of life,
- working in the world for peace, justice, freedom, and human fulfillment,
- participating in the governing responsibilities of the church, and
- reviewing and evaluating regularly the integrity of one’s membership, and considering ways in which one’s participation in the worship and service of the church may be increased and made more meaningful.
Let’s try something different today…each day we provide a passage of Scripture to reflect upon…today, for each one of the bulleted items above, each one has one or more biblical references…how many are you willing to find? “Be the church…” What does that mean to you?