Following Jesus, fulfilling His mission

#1 The Church

I preached on Ephesians 2 in March 2020 – just over a year ago, the week after we were locked down: it was a hectic time. We just made my daughter’s wedding the weekend before. Then we were wondering if the church camp would get up. The speaker had just returned from India and was in quarantine for 14 day – no idea.

Had a gathering on Sunday of church camp. Don’t worry, it was legal. Social distancing. No more than 100. We did church in bush chapel in Nuriootpa.

Timber seats with no backs on dirt. No data projector. No soft seats. No sound of the keyboard playing while someone prayed. No microphones. No mood music or cool graphics.

Totally stripped back. It was the church gathered, and it was powerful. We prayed. Sang. Did nature art in the dirt. Read scriptures. Shed tears.

What do you think of when you think church?

The church – (no not the band) – what images? (on the screen) the church band; people; not a museum for good people… broken; Jesus died so that we would become the church; be the church (building); calling us to be his church… the hope of the world.

That’s what Rend Collective wrote in their song “Build your kingdom” – we are the church, we are the hope on earth.

Word church in Greek, ekklesia, means literally “called out ones.” The church is a body, not building. We don’t go to church; we are the church.

Unfortunately the church continues to take a bad rap – and sometimes its justified. Like journalist Julia Baird: Articles around domestic violence in the church; toxic congregations or flawed leadership; increasingly out of step with the world and in decline.

Interesting – I thought the church was meant to be out of step with the world – we’re the ecclesia – called out of the world.

How do you view the church? Author Thomas Hardy said he had a friend who could go into any beautiful paddock and immediately find a manure pile – something on the nose. Many have that kind of perspective….