Ask any group of people to define what the church is, and you will end up with a variety of responses. Some will say that the church is the building, and that it represents the focal part of the community, or a connection with the past. Some will say that the church is the people, but it includes everyone who in some way feels a connection (no matter how tenuous) to the buildings past. And some will say that the church is the people, but only those who have a right relationship with God. The question today, though, is which one is right?
Well, to answer the question, we should perhaps go back to the cameo of the church that is described for us in the book of the Acts of the Apostles. Because what we have described for us is a church bubbling with life. The people were totally involved in being taught about the faith. They cared for one another, they shared meals in each other’s homes, they prayed together, they worshipped regularly, and as the need arose they supported one other financially. So much so, that they were a beacon in their community. They didn’t have to go out and tell others about their faith. Their beliefs and actions said it all. And as a consequence people came flocking to them.
Now, is this a picture of the kind of church to which we belong? I don’t think so. Because it seems to me that there is a great gulf between the cameo that we have described for us and the reality of our churches in Tasmania today. What this cameo does, however, is to clearly demonstrate that the church is not the building, and it’s not necessarily everyone who comes to “church”. Rather it is the people who have committed their lives to God, and who are devoted to learning more about their faith, and who care and spend time with their fellow believers.
Now imagine belonging to a church like that.
So is this the kind of church to which we like to belong? And if so, what are we doing (if anything) to reach this lofty goal?
Posted: 17th February 2017
© 2017, Brian A Curtis