Pastoral Perspectives

We Are the Church!

We meet every Sunday in church. What shall motivate us not to be tardy in making this weekly commitment? Sunday worship service is not a requirement for our salvation which is already secured in Christ when we put our faith in him. Rather it is an expression of our deepest gratitude and most heartfelt thanks for what God has done for us through his Son. We can enter into the holy of holies because of the torn flesh and spilled blood of Jesus on the cross. We have been drawn into the fellowship of the Trinity where we are in Christ and Christ is in the Father and the Father is in Christ and Christ is in us. It is more than just having a relationship although that is a good starting point compared to having a religion. The relationship we enjoy with the Triune God brings with it closeness, intimacy and communion. This is the privilege we have as God’s beloved children, wrought at such a great cost that it is impossible for us to wrap our feeble minds around!

When we come together to worship God, let us therefore give of our very best because we are offering our service to the King of kings and the Lord of lords, to a great God who is full of splendour and majesty. Dare we offer him anything less! But how should our best look like? We participate actively – sing enthusiastically, listen attentively and pray affirmatively. The quality of worship service we offer to God does not depend on how good we feel about the worship experience; it depends on how faithful we have been in doing our part. If we are distracted, we arrest our thoughts and return to being present in the gathering; if we have to attend to our child during the service, that attention given in love is also an expression of our worship to God. If we don’t hear anything from the Lord, we continue to wait; if we do hear something, we pray for the courage to obey. This is what every faithful servant should do – waiting expectantly on his Master! If we can adopt such a humble posture every time we come for worship, God will be glorified.

Gathering together for Sunday worship also edifies the church. The songs that we sing, the prayers that we make, the Word that is being read and preached will be used by the Spirit of God to bring about the illumination of minds and the conviction of hearts so that faith may arise and when obedience follows, transformation of lives will result. Week after week, when this happens, and I pray that it does, surely we will grow into the fullness of Christ both as individuals and as a community. The more we are like Christ, the more we reflect his likeness; the more we reveal him to the world, the greater the glory we ascribe to him. Whenever the church is edified, God will be glorified. Of course, Sunday worship is not the only platform where edification happens. Meeting in our small groups will be another platform; serving in the various ministries in church will be yet another platform. Every opportunity to study and share around Scriptures, every opportunity to serve one another using our gifts or just by being there to offer a listening ear and an attentive heart can be used by the Spirit to build each other up in the Lord so that the faith of the believers is nurtured.

Jesus prayed that his church will be united in love. Paul exhorted the church to be united in love. The church is the body of Christ and as a body, though we are many, we are one. When the church reflects and reveals the oneness and love within the community of the Triune God, we again bring him glory. How then can True Way be a community of believers where unity and love are sincerely exhibited? Shall we show more patience towards each other? Shall we not gravitate only to those who are of the same frequency as us? Shall we not take things too personally? Shall we not be overly sensitive? Shall we seek to clarify rather than make quick assumptions? Shall we forgive and forget? Do bear in mind that every time we fail to preserve the unity of the body, Satan has the last laugh. Let us as Christ’s body here in True Way reflect our glorious head so well that there is no misfit between head and body.

Dan Bernard shares this illustration: “Remember putting your face above a headless frame painted to represent a muscle man, a clown, or even a bathing beauty? Many of us have had our pictures taken this way, and the photos are humorous because the head doesn’t fit the body. If we could picture Christ as the head of our local body of believers, would the world laugh at the misfit? Or would they stand in awe of a human body so closely related to the divine head?”

We are an extension of Christ on earth continuing his ministry of reconciliation, making peace between God and Man. God is therefore glorified each time we testify of his love to the world. How is the world going to be convinced of what Christ has done for them if not for his body lighting the path and showing the way. Jesus prayed that by our unity and love, the world will come to believe that the Father has sent him. It has been told that after German bombers destroyed an English cathedral during the Second World War, dedicated volunteers worked to repair one of the church’s broken statues of Christ. Rather than restoring the figure’s missing hands, the artisans left Christ handless – replacing the artwork’s “Come unto Me” inscription with “Christ has no hands but ours.”  Teresa of Ávila had put it so aptly too: “Christ has no body now but yours. No hands, no feet on earth but yours. Yours are the eyes through which he looks compassion on this world. Yours are the feet with which he walks to do good. Yours are the hands through which he blesses all the world. Yours are the hands, yours are the feet, yours are the eyes, you are his body. Christ has no body now on earth but yours.”

As a church, as a community of God’s beloved, let us make it our goal to glorify him. We can do so in our personal devotion time as we draw near to him as well as in our corporate worship. We glorify him when individually we grow to become more like Jesus as well as when his body is edified, i.e. the church is being built up in unity and love. We glorify him when we testify of his love to the world and we can do so individually and as a church when we share the Gospel accompanied by good works and loads of love. To God be the glory!