I want to do a two-post intensive of Christ’s Church and the culture we have created for Her.
Mainly, because if I did it in one, it would be as long as book. Because I am pretty fired up about this and could go on for a long while.
SO, here we go, on post one.
My dear friends.
I used to think that church was the building that we met in.
I used to think that church was the thing I went to every Sunday morning.
I used to think that worship was just blindly singing the words on the screen.
I used to think that prayer was from a template.. the same words every time.
And I used to think that the sermon was more or less just some encouragement to get my through the week.
Those things are all so, so far from my sweet Jesus’ heart.
We are missing it.
We are so far gone, so far off.
How we, as Christians in America, got to this point, I don’t know.
But it makes me want scream. And cry.
Because our sweet Jesus’ heart beats for His beautiful, beautiful Church and I deeply fear that we have created our own heartbeat.
We have made pillars out of our own man-made passions and wisdom and desires.
And we have left in the dust the true righteousness of our dear Savior.
I think that it all stems from what we believe church is.
Church is not a building.
Church is not an event.
It’s not the place we go every Sunday.
It’s not the thing we go to every Sunday.
No, my friend. How dare we diminish the precious, sacred value of Christ’s church by thinking of and referring to Her as a building of concrete and steel, or as an two hour event planned by human effort.
Christ’s bride is the Church.
The entirety of unrelenting and powerfully magnificent, divine Love is on His church, for His church.
The reason of Christ’s death is His Church.
The beautiful redemption, scarlet red to a pure, pure white was won for His church.
The Kingdom of Heaven itself, the Kingdom of Faithful and True, is His Church’s Home.
Christ adores His church in every way One can be adored.
And we dare to think a steel and concrete building is the “church.” And we dare to think a two-hour event planned by human effort is the “church”.
I am so guilty of it.
I ask people every week, “Are you coming to church?”
I answer people every day, “Oh, at the church.”
I say, “What church do you go to?”
And now, sitting here, I feel a passion that is welling up inside my heart, a passion that cannot be ignored.
My friend, our God, YHWH Himself, is stirring in this generation something that we, in flesh, cannot fathom, something more than we can ask or think or imagine.
HE is grabbing ahold our hearts and reuniting it with His beat.
We are the Church.
Feel the weight of that. The eternal, beautifully beautiful weight.
We are the Bride. We are the recipient of Jesus’ adoration. We are the people He shed blood for. We are the people He defeated the grave for. We are the Church, who will be dressed in pure white on the Day when He comes. There will be a feast, the marriage feast, and we will dwell in the Kingdom of our God forever.
Oh, God give us eyes to see what we don’t even know to look for.
Give us hearts to beat a beat that is too wonderful for us to melody ourselves.
Let’s get down the very, very, deepest and most simple core of it all.
We are the Church.
You and me.
So now the questions come:
Well, then what are Sunday mornings? How do we articulate what we are doing, where we are going?
My sister, in light of this, please join me in taking heart to intentionally change our words.
May I offer this:
If we are the Church, as in you and me. And the Jesus-lovers from the past generation. And from 1500’s. And from the year 350. And the 12 disciples and first apostles themselves. And all of the Jesus-lovers who aren’t yet born…
Then, on Sunday mornings, if what we do isn’t “Church”, then what is it? What are we there for? Why do we gather?
Well, the very first gathering of Christians is described in Acts 2:42-47:
“And they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. And awe came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. And all who believed were together and had all things in common. And they were selling their possessions and belongings and distributing the proceeds to all, as any had need. And day by day, attending the temple together and breaking bread in their homes, they received their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having favor with all the people. And the Lord added to their number day by day those who were being saved.”
My sister, don’t read that with a blind heart, just going through, by the motions, verses that I am sure you have read before.
May you open your heart and may God give us eyes to see… His Church gathers.
His Church gathers because us Jesus-lovers will be One in the Kingdom of Heaven. So on earth, as it is in Heaven, may we be One now.
SO, we gather.
Because the Gospel has changed our lives.
Because we were created for community.
Because we devote ourselves to Bible-teaching, to community, to communion, and to prayer.
Because we have been loved with the greatest of Loves, so we love each other.
Because we send each other out to the ends of the earth.
We gather because we are One.
SO, in light of understanding why we do Sundays, let’s work through how to articulate this:
Where do we go on Sunday mornings?
Perhaps we can say the name of our congregation.
For example, “Hey, are you going to Redemption on Sunday?”
Maybe, we can ask, “What Church community/ congregation are you apart of?”
I think that words can change and mix as long as, in our hearts, we understand who the Church is and as long as we can feel the intense passion Christ has for Her.
Once that is accomplished in our heart, then our words will flow correctly and righteously.
So, my fellow Jesus- loving and loved- by- Jesus sisters, may we press into the heart of Jesus and understand His deep adoration for His Church.
May we be intentional about not conforming to even the “Christian culture,” but rather taking a step back and understanding what we are saying.
May our words be wise and righteous, reflecting from a heart filled with the wisdom, righteousness, and passion of our sweet Jesus.
With much, much love. And a heart fixed on the beauty of being in Christ’s Church. –Melissa
PS stay tuned for the next post…. We will press into Jesus’ heart for what we do at our gatherings- why we sing, why we pray, and why we study the Bible.
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