The Scripture readings this week are:
- From the Jewish Scriptures: Joshua 24:14-21
- Psalm 78:1-7 (VU p792 Part One)
- From the Life of the Early Church: Acts 6:1-6
- From the Gospel: Matthew 28:16-20
THe Hymns for this week are:
- #603 In Loving Partnership We Come
- #356 Seek Ye First the Kingdom of God
- MV #1 Let Us Build a House (verses 1-5)
- #646 We Are Marching (sung 4 times)
The Sermon Title is How are we the church?
Early Thoughts: What are we doing right now that makes us part of the church?On the first Sunday of Lent we asked what the church is. THe church is (in part) a social club, a political action center, a support group, a place to feed the Spirit, and a place to mark Rites of Passage.
Then we asked where and when the church is. IS the church merely a special type of building? Is it something that only happens for set periods of time on special days? NO, it is something larger and broader, something that can be anywhere and anytime.
THen we stopped to ask ourselves why we choose to make the church a part of our lives. ANd we heard some stories from friends and neighbours about why it was important to them.
WE asked ourselves who is here, and more importantly, how we can best be welcoming to those who aren't here yet.
And before asking all these questions we celebrated the ministry of this church over the last year. We named why we are here. We named what we had done.
SO now we come to the last question. HAving looked at various things about the church we ask ourselves how we are the church. This question really takes us back most clearly to the first, to the "what".
We are the church as we gather to name whose we are and who we follow Joshua says to the Israelites:
AS for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.We make that statement in choosing to gather here. MAtthew calls his readers to:
Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything that I have commanded you. And remember, I am with you always, to the end of the age.This too makes us a church. WE are more than a gathering of friends, we are a community of faith, sharing the Gospel, sharing teh Word of Life, sharing the Hope that we meet in the death and Resurrection of Jesus. Much like the early church described in our Acts reading we do this be sharing the work. We find ourselves aking some to preach, some to teach, some to feed, but all to serve.
How are we the church? In many ways. How should we be teh church? THe answer to that question gets revealed anew as the world around us requires. AS we are called, so shall we serve. ANd in the meantime we continue to tell to story of faith. WE continue to love and serve friend and neighbour. We continue to seek God's justice for the world both near and far. LEt us build a house where love is found, and let us say of that house: WE belong to God