Confession 377: Being Christ’s Body

 

God put everything under Christ’s feet and made him head of everything in the church,  which is his body. His body, the church, is the fullness of Christ, who fills everything in every way. Ephesians 1:22-23 (CEB)

When I was a kid, there was a little rhyme we learned to act out with our hands.  Maybe you’ve heard it:

church and steeple

Here’s the church

Here’s the steeple

Open the doors

Here’s the people

This rhyme demonstrates the fact that people are the church.  But, what is the church?

Scripturally, the church is the body of Christ.  In Ephesians, Paul writes that the church is the fullness of Christ.

Stop here for a moment.  This is one of those phrases many people are accustomed to hearing and therefore stop considering.  Read this sentence again, out loud.  Fully take it in.

The church is the fullness of Christ.

When I read Ephesians 1:22-23, I was absolutely convicted.  The church is the fullness of Christ?  The church is the fullness of CHRIST!

The American church is struggling.  Mainstream denominations are in decline.  Younger generations find church to be an irrelevant pastime that usually includes some sort of Confession 284: Why We Go To Churchjudginess or bigotry.  Churches are scrambling to figure out how to draw people back in.  We try to put on a really good show, full of digital spectacle and pageantry.  We want church to be hip, fun and cool.  It’s especially great when it doesn’t last more than 45 minutes and includes free coffee and snacks.

 

The thing is, the fullness of Christ isn’t necessarily represented by a fully stocked coffee bar.  The fullness of Christ is represented when fully committed followers of Jesus come together to praise, worship, pray and grow together.  The fullness of Christ is represented when fully committed followers of Christ open their hearts (and doors) to those who don’t know Jesus–embracing them and leading them into the light of grace and love.  The fullness of Christ is represented when the powers and authorities on earth look to the church as a beacon of light and wisdom and peace.

Those who are seeking purpose and meaning in their lives are looking for an authentic relationship–not a show.  If the church is going to represent the fullness of Christ, then all of its members need to commit to growing in their relationship with Jesus.  We need to put aside differences of theology, denomination, politics and even worship styles to focus again on being the body of Christ.

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When Jesus walked on this earth, his hands brought healing to those who had been written off as hopeless causes.  His feet brought news of hope and life to those who were living under oppression and fear.  His lips challenged the status quo and tore apart the hypocrisy of the religious elite.  His very blood was offered as a sacrifice for all of humankind.

What a powerful message!  And how might our communities be transformed if we, the church, fully became the body of Christ.

This week, my challenge is to think about what it means to be the body of Christ.  Are you representing God’s fullness?  Is your church acting as the body of Christ?  What can you do to better show God’s love, mercy and forgiveness?

The church is the fullness of Christ.

Blessings and Peace,

Sara

 

 

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