Tuesday, 5 December 2006

A old wondering...

What is Church?


Oh dear- What is Church? This should be easy –NOT!) Let's get the explanation out of the way! :

The word Church, probably comes from the Greek ‘kyriakos’ which means ‘the Lord’s House’; but the New Testament Greek word more commonly associated with the Old Testament Hebrew word ‘Kahal’, which translates as ‘assembly’, is ‘ecclesia’ which also means ‘assembly’. These words are found more frequently in reference to groups of worshippers coming together than any other words in the New Testament. The New Testament also translates however the word ‘ecclesia’ as meaning ‘the whole body of the redeemed, all those whom the Father has given to Christ’

So I believe then we can conclude, from this that Church ‘is a Gathering or Assembly of believers in Christ Jesus’ So that means Christians everywhere are members of the same Church!

Church is NOT, surprisingly, a building! No matter how you dress it – a building is still a building; Nothing more. If you remove the ‘ecclesia’- the gatherers; then it could be a building for any purpose. {In Glasgow, near my parent’s house there is a climbing centre, it is very popular –why? Because of its height, it is an old Church building with a high steeple; Someone told me of a ‘fun pub’ in Southampton in a converted church. are these buildings - still a church?}

And I believe that it is important as Christians that we remember that. A building is useful, removes the burden of the constant moving of ‘the church paraphernalia’ from pillar to post; it no doubt gives focus to the community around it. But it does not, I believe, make our life as Christians any greater, any simpler, or make our worship to God any Holier- As I said before, I believe the actions of our worship are more important than everything else!

Lets say at Christmas it was decided we should have our Sunday meeting in a car park, on the Sunday morning there is a snowstorm & we are standing in 4 feet of snow!; Does that mean that we are not a church? - Just by being there we glorify God we are the redeemed, we are the gathering of believers – our actions speak louder than the words of any song we might than sing. The words just enhance (add to) the worshipping heart of God’s Church.

So, Church can be expressed in this way; 'a gathering of the redeemed, those who God has given to Christ.' Usually the assembly will be physically gathered together, but may I also suggest that the believers who have one another in their hearts & minds, just as Jesus is, are also the church.

The worship that God desires is not only that of holy daily living as individuals, but as a gathered group worshipping and acting (community action for example) together. That might be seen as true worship – living the life Jesus did which is honouring to God, as well as declaring that we are his people by our ‘gatherings’ and our religious services.

Being CHURCH is celebrating OUR delivered (redeemed) life, with other gatherers (& all those who wish to be gathered), with, for & through God, using Jesus as your Mercy Seat.

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