What is the church?
A question pregnant with other questions. When that question delivers, I think the little baby questions that will be running around it’s feet include: What did Jesus want for the church? How closely are we measuring up today? What should we do to bridge the gap between what it was supposed to be and what it has become? Is it better to work at rebuilding the current church from within or start rebuilding the whole deal from the outside?
I thought I’d make an attempt at laying some groundwork to what the answers to these questions might look like here. (No, you don’t need to click that “here” just keep reading. 😉 )
Scripture tells us that the church is both the bride of Christ and the body of Christ. These two images end up being one and the same. The people within a marriage become one flesh. So in the act of marrying Christ, the church becomes his body.
And what should the church do? The same thing Jesus did in his body: heal the wounded, share the good news, proclaim the jubilee of Jesus, afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted. Jesus spent time alone. He gathered up his disciples occasionally. But this was always in the context of preparing for his next guerilla strike into the culture around him.
We might have lots of debates (in fact we probably should) around what this looks like in 2008. But it’s clear to me that what this does not look like:
A bunch of people retreating into a “fellowship hall” for a potluck with no plans except for Sunday and Wednesday attendance at the same church.
I have nothing against pot lucks. (Though, seriously, do any of us need any more variations of pasta/marinara sauce/cheese/meet caserole in our lives?) But I think that we lose sight of the fact that Jesus was busy going out, he was busy sending his followers out, into the world.
As I consider that “church” potluck I am left with a question I don’t have the answer to. It’s probably provacative to even ask it. But a little provacation never hurt anybody. My question is this:
Which is more of a church: the pot luck described above or an agnostic nurse and an agnostic doctor working away in a third world country somewhere on the least among us?
This post was submitted to Randy Elrod’s Watercooler Wednesday.