What does it mean to “be the church”? I hope we are all aware that the church is not a building, an institution, or simply a place where you go only on Sunday morning. The church is a collection of human beings, each one of us professing our faith in the Crucified and Resurrected Jesus Christ. To be the church means to be a community that embodies a different way to live in the world. We are given this incredible task by Jesus, who asks us be his people out across the whole of creation, but particularly in our case, here in the CSRA.
Over the past few months, I have been asking myself what the church will look like as we emerge on the other side of the pandemic. Most assuredly, things will not go back to the way they have always been and, frankly, that is a good thing. The capital “C” church is in a place where we need to ask deep questions about how we go about sharing the good news of the Gospel in our new cultural situation, one that finds religion increasingly irrelevant. I know that I have certainly been asking that question for a few years now. While I know this might sound crazy, as I have been thinking about where the church is heading in the future, I found myself digging deeper into our past! In particular, I have spent a great deal of time recently reading the book of Acts. The narrative in Acts is simply incredible! It is a story filled with courageous men and women who live in a culture that didn’t know the Gospel, which increasingly seems to be the case in our world! When you read through the chapters in Acts, we get a picture of what it means to represent Jesus with all your heart, soul, mind, and strength. It is an inspiring book, while also being one filled with incredible challenges for those who read it. If we want to know how to be the church in the future, I think the best thing we can do is go back and look at our origin story.
Starting today, I want you to read the Book of Acts. I want you to not only read it, but imagine yourself to be part of the plotline. Watch as Peter delivers bold and passionate sermons that call people to live in a new way. Listen as Paul meets with the leaders of the Jerusalem Church to decide how Gentiles can become part of the community. Pay attention as the leaders of the church spoke with passion about Jesus, who had transformed their lives, and then ask yourself if you are willing to do the same thing. Finally, show up on Sunday morning and be a part of our community. I am going to be spending the next six weeks looking at the first part of Acts, taking a deep dive into how the church started spreading the revolutionary love of Jesus. I hope you will make plans to be there on Sunday.
Grace and Peace,