Church on Monday: Living As the Church
Pastor Rick began with two images from our culture – one real and one imagined. The real was the story of Louis Zamperini and his harrowing time as a POW in Japan in the second World War. He was horribly abused, but somehow managed to survive, only to endure serious PTSD after the war until he became a believer at a Billy Graham meeting in Los Angeles. Then, with Jesus, absolutely everything in his life changed.
The imagined was the story of Frodo in The Lord of the Rings story, both the movie and the books. Great story of how our actions as individuals can impact a much larger story, sometimes even the whole world. Frodo was hardly a blip on the radar of the power brokers of his world, yet his actions actually saved that world from destruction and great evil.
We believe that we are called to be the Church and be conformed to the image of Jesus for the sake of others! We know Jesus makes an enormous difference. We all carry him out into the world. We come to church and participate in fellowship and worship not for its own sake, but so that we can be encouraged and then carry Jesus with us into the broader world in which we live and breathe. A time is coming when all reality will be woven together and the Kingdom of heaven and life on the planet will be one and the same. In that culminating moment (Rev 21:1-4) Jesus will rule in real time here on earth and there will be no more pain or tears or sorrow or death.
Rick walked us through parts of Ephesians 1 where Paul is reminding us of who Jesus is and the kind of authority he really has. Paul emphasizes three times that Jesus is over all things, all things, and that his authority is absolute. So in light of that, how should be behave? How do we carry Jesus with us and all the places we go? Jesus brought healing wherever he went – how can we bring the same kind of healing with us? Do we imagine ourselves as human beings experiencing glimpses of a spiritual reality that is beyond our grasp? Or, are we primarily spiritual beings, temporarily inhabiting a body of flesh and experiencing our humanity, but destined to live into that reality spoken of in Rev 21 and be with Jesus for all eternity? How you answer that will have a lot to do with how your represent Jesus in the world around you.
As Rick noted, we do struggle with Kingdom language. We sing songs about being a ‘child of the King,’ but have a difficult time talking about it openly to our friends and neighbors. We were not designed to be burdened with the issues of hate, jealousy, greed, lust or racism – those are the remnants of the sin that began with the rebellion just after creation. But Jesus solved the sin, forgiveness, and redemption issues once and for all, and our task is to live into the reality that he can see both in us now and in the future only He can imagine. That is the reality we share as we walk about in the world. Like our friend Frodo, our actions can have amazing consequences.
As Rick concluded he reminded us that worship is about sharing life with our maker and in the midst of his people – we go to church so we can learn how to be the Church. And the Church is the hands and feet of Jesus in this world, and we are to be active players. Every Sunday is indeed a gathering and a launching, and our task is to be the Church and fill the world with Jesus.