Saturday, October 29, 2016

WHAT IS CHURCH? by Linden Malki

What is a church? What is The Church?

One of the problems in answering these is that there are human answers and trans-human answers. We may be referring to a building, anything from the largest and most ornate cathedral to the smallest and plainest place where two or three are meeting in the name of God.

Perhaps that is a starting place. What makes a building, or a group of people, a "church" is the intention:  to make time and space for God.  We do not always remember that all time and all space is His; in the time and space that He created and gives us the use of it is easy to get so overwhelmed with all of the demands of the world that we need to set aside times and spaces to be conscious of and open to God.

As human individuals, what do we know about God, believe about God, and expect from God? We live in a world where we tend to think first about ourselves. Too often, that translates into thinking of God as an overindulgent daddy who wants us to have all the goodies of the world and nothing uncomfortable happen to us. But Jesus very clearly said that “My Kingdom is not of this world.”* And He said it as He was about to die at the hands of this world.

What does that have to do with the church? It should give us a perspective that is different from the world; that the Kingdom of Heaven is ruled by God, through Jesus. Truly, we don’t own our lives, we don’t own the church. And the church on this side of Heaven has its authority from God, not from any earthly power. None of us know everything there is to know about God in this life; we should be learning and growing every day. No single organization knows everything, either; we each know some things, and we can learn from each other—both as individuals and as small-c churches.  

What are we called to be? Jesus’ most often mentioned goal was to bring the Kingdom of Heaven, not only in Heaven itself, but with His citizens here as salt and light. We are here as people whose first allegiance is to God. We need the support and fellowship of others on the same road; for help, for accountability, for wisdom, to share in praising God, sharing what we have experienced and learned in our journey, to share in praise and worship, and more as we are led by God and Godly leaders.

We know that God is the power behind everything that is; but He has allowed us an amazing amount of freedom to accept and reject. The Authority is there, and it is easy to think that He is so big and powerful that He doesn’t have time for the likes of us. But He is big enough to reach out to each and every one of us and make us an offer that He wants us to accept—on His terms, not ours. What He offers is truly best for us. But our responsibility is to recognize the line between what we see and want, and what He wants for us;

*John 18:36

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