WHAT IS CHURCH?
Colossians 1:24 - ...........for the sake of His body, which is the church.
We all have different ideas about church, what it means, what it should be like and even what should happen within. The other day I was reading a book called "So you don't want to
go to church anymore" by Wayne Jacobsen and Dave Coleman. I found it a really challenging read and made me think again about what church is and what it is all about. There are many who would say that the church is the building that has been blessed by some kind of ceremony and as such is a sacred place. There are some who only consider the church to be a type of traditional building where worshippers have been going for hundreds of years and families have been carrying on the tradition. I have even heard people say that the church that they go to is in fact their family church paid for and supported by generations of their family line. Equally there are others who worship in modern buildings such as community centres, schools etc. and they say that this is the modern church that attracts the people of today, the less traditional types. Despite this many will want what is being calle a "proper church" when they want to attend a marraige, christening or funeral. So the question is who is right? Are both views correct?
Well we all prefer a particular type of worshipping whether that be more traditional or more modern and we could discuss the merits of each for ever. But that's not important. Who we worship is more important than how we worship. If we worship Jesus and have accepted Him as our Lord and Saviour then it is to Him we must look to answer the question "What is church?" Even a cursory glance through scripture gives a definite and unmistakable answer. The church of Christ isn't a building, it is in fact, the people. It doesn't matter if we worship in a well established traditional church building, a modern amenities centre or a tent in a field in Pembrokeshire, it is the people that make up the church. We are the body of Christ and wherever we are and whatever we are doing we remain the body of Christ in the world. That raises a number of issues and challenges, for example if we are Christ's church at all times, irrespective of not actually being inside a building, then we have to act as we would act when we go to worship on a Sunday, always. That means we have to carry the same thoughts and actions that we take when in the building, into our daily lives, and only be doing so, will we live in accordance with Christ's teaching. Jesus said, "let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise your Father in heaven (Matthew 5:16). Paul reminds us in Ephesians 2:22 that together we become a dwelling in which God lives by His Spirit. So what is church? We are! and we should endeavour to be "church" in every aspect of our daily lives. Its not an easy task and will require much effort and strength on our part to act as we should to all people, at all times. But guess what? We have all the strength that we need through our unity with each other and the power of His indwelling Spirit in our lives. So lets "be church" at all times in our communities and, by so doing, reflect His glory to others.
Father God you have empowered us through the acceptance our Jesus in our lives to be His church whilst on this earth. Help us to act in accordance with His teaching every day of our lives and not just on Sundays or special occasions. Let us truly be that light that shines out to all men so that others may see Him and will want to know and accept Jesus as their Lord and Saviour. In His name. Amen.