Nov 5, 2017

Devotion - 5 November - What is Church?

A brief prayer is offered that you can add to your daily prayers this week. The scripture is from our Sunday Service Bulletin.
Gospel Reading- Matthew 16: 13-20
Now when Jesus came into the district of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” 14 And they said, “Some say John the Baptist, others say Elijah, and others Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” 15 He said to them, “But who do you say that I am?” 16 Simon Peter replied, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” 17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. 19 I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.” 20 Then he strictly charged the disciples to tell no one that he was the Christ.
Devotion: What is church?
When someone asks you where you go to church, you likely visualize your place of worship briefly in your mind before you respond. The person to whom you respond, likely forms a vision in his or her mind about a building, and what it may look like. Digging a little deeper, if you attend church in the US, it likely is a legal entity so that payments can be transferred to and from a bank. Also, the US treasury is very demanding of paperwork involving tax consequences—so there needs to be paperwork describing the individual church’s enterprise. Now, the Greek word for “church” is "ecclesia" (ἐκκλησία, ekklesía, meaning literally "assembly" or "congregation". It refers to the people, not the structure, and we know that the early Christians did just fine without a dedicated building. After all, the Great Commission [“make disciples of all nations”] is the job of people, not a building and not a legal entity. Now re-read verse 18 in our Gospel today.  I know you can’t help but think of a sturdy structure built on a great rock foundation. Now think again, dear reader, the Gospel is not talking about a building -- it is talking about you. The gates of hell shall not prevail against you!

We pray: “Lord thank you for your unending and unconditional love.  Amen”