From time to time I like to post a video as a little break from the typical blog format. The following video by Jim Vining is a challenging one to help get us thinking about how we view church and our role both among and as the body of believers. As I watched Vining’s video there were times I thought, “Right on!” There were other times I felt rather convicted. Whether we like it or not we all approach church and the mission God has placed upon us with a certain set of assumptions. This video is an attempt to help us explore and dialogue what these might be.
How often do we look at church as a menu of items, a place we come to be fed rather than being a storehouse and outpost for the mysteries of God? From the Bible we clearly see that church was not meant to be a place of our own making but is the place God establishes, affirms, corrects, and creates a people unto Himself.
What makes church, church is not the particular hymns we happen to like, the style of our worship, who is preaching, or some sermon series we may be working through. Worship and church has less to do with our performance or personal preference, but rather, Church is all about God who comes to us during this corporate experience, working to adorn His beautiful Bride for a future life with Him. Through the years both church and worship have taken on various forms God has used to work His grace and Kingdom plan in people’s lives. In response to His active work in our lives we offer Him the totality of our heart and mind as an offering of praise to Him. God designed the church to be a place of gathering, growing, and going, not a place we firmly plant ourselves. Our call is discipleship! Being a follower of Christ means that we are ready to follow Him to the places He has called, gifted, and empowered us through the power of His Holy Spirit to go. Church and worship grounded upon His Word, are the springboards God uses to launch us into the world, to be His incarnational presence among the people God places in our path.
After all, whose church is it? Ours or God’s?
God’s mission at its core reveals a community of believers gathering together with the purpose of growing so they may share the love and grace of God’s cross and empty tomb with others. This is the food which sustains, not who is preaching or the particular hymns being sung on a given Sunday. What makes church the enriching thing that it is, is God, who comes to us through His Word and Sacraments to nourish and sustain us in our earthly journey in order to prepare us for the next. Isn’t this great news?
Maybe, just maybe, it is time for us to consider putting on an apron and heading into the kitchen to share the incarnational food Christ offers us through the cross and empty tomb to those who have not yet tasted the living presence of God in the flesh. Many have never tasted its goodness or sadly have stepped away from God’s table altogether. The Bible says repeatedly that it is not good for us to do life alone. The kitchen is the place where life and belonging meet together in a life-giving way. We need each other, we need community … we need God!
Are you hungry? The Spirit’s calling.
Tasting the goodness of God,