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Archive for May 28th, 2020

I cannot wait to go back to the warehouse we call our church building, to see those who we call our church family, to sing, as a congregation our songs of praise and worship to God.

This is the yearning of many around the world, during this time of pandemic.

Last weekend I went shopping and found myself walking out of the store thinking the following :

my entire church family of hundreds of people would have been a safer group to be with than in that store of limited numbers. Why can’t the church be opened up?

It was my heart cry. Because the people I worship with, unlike the strangers in that store, love each other enough to keep our distance from each other.

I mulled over my experience and thoughts when listening to the news from around the world … it’s funny how hearing your own thoughts coming through the mouths of others can allow your ears and heart to where your thoughts are really coming from.

My desire, though sincere, was morphing into a perspective that I deserved to go back to church, that it is my right.

That set me on a search for truth and there is only one source of truth, God’s word. What does the Bible say about the church.

Yet the Most High does not dwell in houses made by hands, as the prophet says, “‘Heaven is my throne, and the earth is my footstool. What kind of house will you build for me, says the Lord, or what is the place of my rest? Did not my hand make all these things?’ Acts 7:48-50

(God’s house, the house of God is not made by human hands)

… you are fellow citizens with the saints and members of the household of God, built on the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Christ Jesus himself being the cornerstone, in whom the whole structure, being joined together, grows into a holy temple in the Lord. In him you also are being built together into a dwelling place for God by the Spirit. Ephesians 2:19-22

(The foundation of the church are the apostles, the cornerstone … what the entire church is constructed/depended on, is Jesus Christ. We are where the holy spirit lives)

For we are co-workers in God’s service; you are God’s field, God’s building. 1 Corinthians 3:9

(we are the church)

But Christ is faithful over God’s house as a son. And we are his house if indeed we hold fast our confidence and our boasting in our hope. Hebrews 3:6

(we, the church, need to stay close, be faithful to him)

And then I found these words, from Charles Spurgeon,

“”What is a church? It is an assembly. And a Christian church is an assembly of faithful men (and women), of men (and women) who know the truth, believe it, affirm it, and adhere to it. The Greek word signifies an assembly summoned out of the whole population to exercise the right of citizenship. An ecclesia, or church, is not a mob, nor a disorderly gathering rushing together without end or purpose, but a regular assembly of persons called out by grace, and gathered together by the Holy Spirit. Those persons make up the assembly of the living God.” (What the Church Should Be Sermon #1436)

In this time of living in a pandemic, the church, anchored and built by God, made up of the people of God, has continued to assemble … in Spirit, as one. We have met online in conference, in church services, in small groups and on social media. We have been the hands and feet of God, doing his good work by committing our work in our jobs to him, by caring for the elderly, the sick, the poor and disenfranchised.

“Churches are essential.
That’s why they never closed.
Buildings may have,
but the church didn’t
The gospel will never be silenced.
It will always find a way to be told.”

Natalie Grant

What I found interesting was the timing of this line of thinking, for it began about the time in the church calendar when we celebrate the ascension of Jesus.

Acts 1 tells us of his ascension :

“They (the apostles) were looking intently up into the sky as he was going, when suddenly two men dressed in white stood beside them. “Men of Galilee,” they said, “why do you stand here looking into the sky? This same Jesus, who has been taken from you into heaven, will come back in the same way you have seen him go into heaven.”

Let me paraphrase … the apostles, after forty days with the risen Christ, watch him ascend into the sky, the heavens. They are standing there, staring up, transfixed, when they hear a voice from two angelic beings standing with them saying,

People, what the heck are you doing here, staring at the sky? Did you not listen to Jesus at all? He’s gone, but he will be back. Now get to work! Do the work of the church, like he modelled to you! You do not need his physical presence anymore than you need a brick and mortar building. Go, spread the good news … in word and in deed.

“We are his temple. We do not turn in a certain directlon to pray. We are not bound by having to go into a building so that we can commune with God. There are no unique postures and times and limitations that restrict our access to God. My relationship with God is intimate and personal. The Christian does not go to the temple to worship. The Christian takes the temple with him or her. Jesus lifts us beyond the building and pays the human body the highest compliment by making it His dwelling place, the place where He meets with us. Even today He would overturn the tables of those who make it a marketplace for their own lust, greed, and wealth.” Ravi Zacharias

So that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places. Ephesians 3:10

It is not our right to go to church, we the church is a responsibility endowed by Jesus Christ.

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