I just got done reading Jennifer Stewart’s blog for May 6th, 2003. If you haven’t done so, stop reading this and click on her link. It’s a very moving reminder of who we are as the church. In Matthew 18:20 Jesus says, “For where two or three come together in my name, there am I with them.” Three elements make a church: 1) the base element of community (two or three come together); 2) in character and essence of Jesus (in my name); and 3) Jesus’ incarnational presence in our midst (there am I with them). When those three happen, then we are the church both gathered and scattered — Jesus continuing incarnation of the Father’s fullness and reign (even if imperfectly) to a world unaware of God’s salvific work.
It reminds me of a passage I read this morning in chapter six of Missional Church,
“God’s promised reign of love and hope, compassion and reconciliation, harmony and justice, is incarnated in a new humanity, a people commissioned to represent the gospel of peace to the alienated and hostile powers of the world. This communal reality of holy living, mutual support, and sacrificial service the New Testament calls koinonia. Challenging the old competitive order of independence, self-interest, and private privilege, Christian community indicates a collaborative order of interdependence, shared responsibility, mutual instruction, and commonality. Within this new company of believers studying, sharing, eating, and praying together, the promised fulfillment of creation is visible, tangible, and experienced, even though not yet perfected.”
Father, through a smile, a word, a prayer, a gift, a life — may I be Christ to all you bring into my life. And may they somehow experience Jesus’ love and lordship in a winsome and tangible way through who you have formed me to be, at this moment as your child. Amen.