Sunday, February 28, 2010

The raison d'etre of Church

Good afternoon God,
There are times when I feel as though I am on a different planet from most people, and today is one of those days. It's like living in a parallel universe where things look vaguely like they should, the buildings haven't changed, the people are all the same, but the raison d'etre has changed and I no longer know what it is.
Please, tell me. what is the raison d'etre of Church?

I once believed that Church was the body of Christ, called out to proclaim in word and deed the good news of Jesus Christ that by your grace, people might have life in all its fullness.. Church was where people came to worship you and to share in the spiritual nurture and growth of your people in order that together we could grow in grace and holiness, striving for that perfection which you set before us. It was where we first heard the call to work with you in building a different sort of world, a place of justice, righteousness and peace, hopefully  without false piety or petty dogmas to disturb it. In Church you frequently surprised people with the gifts and graces that you had given them, and delighted them by providing them with the support that they needed to grow to be all that they could be. Church was the one place that a child could expect to be nurtured in the faith, an adult challenged to respond and a senior Christian invited to take a lead role as a Spiritual leader - because of their knowledge and depth of faith.
It was these things that made Church so dynamic, so compelling a place (or rather an activity) that wild horses couldn't keep us away from it.
At least, that is what I believed it was and could be - and it was out of that belief that I felt called to serve.
So tell me God why does it feel like I'm living on a different planet?

I don't believe that the Good News has changed, neither do I believe that it is no longer relevant to the world. I remain convinced that we need Christians who believe the good news to take leading roles in politics, community welfare and education so that the world really is changed by the influence of the Holy Spirit and that these Christians need supporting by the body of Christ through prayer and worship.
I know that you are still calling young people to be open to ministry, to leading worship, to building community and to growing in grace, but these too need to be nurtured and supported by the Church, not discouraged or ignored. I am persuaded that there has never been a more opportune time to reach out in love to those who have not yet heard, to work to save the lost, while some of us can still remember the way! But I am also persuaded that if we do not get the raison d'etre right then it will not happen.

SO, please, tell me. what is the raison d'etre of the Church today?
I really need to know.

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