There is no such thing as a “Lone Ranger Christian.” To be a Christian means to be part of a community. Jesus had a group of followers. The first missionaries went out in pairs or small groups. Churches are groups of believers who are gathered together for mutual support, encouragement, worship, and prayer.
The word “church” can also mean “assembly,” as in a group of people who are called out to assemble. Think of school assemblies. You are called out of your class and you assemble with a larger group for communal activities.
In the same sense, the Church is called out of the world in order to assemble for prayer and worship. The world is not necessarily an evil place, but it is a place in which Christ may or may not be known. The Church is necessary because within this assembly we can be sure that we know Christ.
|2010 Mission Trip|
Notice that the Church, in this context, is not a building. At its core, the Church is not even a physical space. The Church is made of people, spread across the world and even across time. When we worship in southern Mississippi we are not separated from our loved ones back home. In fact, when we worship, we are not even separated from those faithful who have died before us and those that will come after us. In God’s magnificence, the Church is all faithful Christians, at every place and in every time.
This magnificence ought to drown out any minor squabbles or foibles that we may have. Our Church is not St. Alban’s, it is not even the Episcopal Church. The Church of Jesus Christ is bigger than all of that. The Church of Jesus Christ is composed of folks that don’t look like us, don’t talk like us, don’t think like us, and don’t worship like us.
This mission trip is a small example of what the Church is. We have formed a community of Jesus Christ that was called out of Waco and into this place to do God’s work. As a church community, we realize that we are part of something bigger. As followers of Jesus, we can look beyond our neighbor’s smelly feet or odd mannerisms. We can look beyond their differences of opinion. We can look into their face, and find that we are looking at the face of the Church of Jesus Christ.
Question for reflection: What have you been called out to do?