Pastor’s Reflection: What is the church?
The Church is called to be the “Body of Christ in the world,” according to the Apostle Paul. This short description of the Church has two important components: “Body” and “Christ.” Let us consider each in turn.
First, the Church is a “Body.” It is a community of people. Each person comes with their own unique set of gifts, needs, skills, flaws, personality, interests, the very essence of who we are. We bring ALL of who we are to the community.
We gather as a community of faith knowing that there is strength in numbers. No one has all the answers. No one can be strong all the time. No one has all the talents and gifts that are required to live in this world and serve Christ. Because we are called to love God and our neighbors we cannot do this by ourselves. Paul correctly points out that we NEED each other.
We gather as an inclusive community. No one regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, economic status, and place in life is unimportant. Paul suggests that the very ones that the world might consider insignificant, or of no account are to be honored in the church.
We gather as a community of faith to share. We gather to share who we are with others and to serve God together. We gather to share our joys and sufferings and to rejoice together, whenever possible. We gather to help one another in our individual journeys of faith, to grow in faith, hope, and love.
Second, the church is the Body of Christ in the world. As a community of faith we gather in Christ’s name. We gather to explore Christ’s life and message. We gather seeking Christ’s presence and guidance in our lives through, worship, sacrament, prayer, and study. We gather trusting that Christ’s promise that wherever two or three are gathered in his name, Christ is present.
In the United Church of Christ we believe that God is still speaking today. The two main priorities that Christ set long ago still apply. First, we are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Second, we are to love our neighbors are ourselves. These Christ given priorities still apply today but every day brings new opportunities and challenges for carrying them out.
Wherever you are in life’s journey you are welcome to join us in the adventure!
Grace and Peace,