Who is the Church?

This item was posted a while ago, on 1 January 2005.

Martin Young writes: Praise the Lord! Do I hear a response? (If not, you may need to visit one of our local Black-led fellowships, where a guaranteed response is a loud “Praise the Lord!”) We do praise Him for His goodness to us here ― I do, especially for my radically improved health, and for Suzette’s renewed energy (she is even counselling again). Thank you so much for praying for us.

I’d like to make some comments to which I’d welcome responses. Read them, then call, or write! Recently a well known bishop said “It’s never been easier to win young people for Christ, but never harder to get them into church.” Picture of 'Houses That Change The World' bookDo you agree that his theology is suspect? Surely they ARE in THE church if they are in Christ. This, and a book I am reading called “Houses That Change The World” by Wolfgang Simson, have further challenged my thinking. We rely so much on buildings, denominations, ‘our/my church’, that most people don’t know that church is you and me (temples of the Holy Spirit). Many Muslims build big mosques to dominate so-called Church buildings to prove their superiority.

I suspect that most people (me included) either haven’t read and understood Acts 2:42-47 and 1 Timothy 3, or are unwilling to be hearers and doers of God’s word. If we met as in Acts 2 and appointed locally known and proven leaders, maybe we’d make a much bigger impact on our world. It seems to work in China (see ‘The Heavenly Man’ about Brother Yun).

Suzette adds: “One of the things I am involved with is the Chaplaincy Team of a Mental Health Outpatient Unit. Usually I attend a morning clinic where folk are waiting to see either the psychiatrist or one of the community psychiatric nurses/social workers. It can be a busy place, and there is certainly a lot of stress and anxiety around! My main function is to be available to patients and staff ― make coffee/tea, help people feel welcome and at ease, and listen when someone wants to off-load. A smile, a friendly face and time to give undivided attention can all help to make a difficult appointment less stressful and, if appropriate, an offer to pray with the person in a less public place can be given.

The photo is of our Harvest display which we arranged for a whole day, inviting folk to come in and say ‘Thank you’ to God, to taste bread and grapes, to write a prayer, light a candle, or mould something significant out of clay. Quiet music was played in the background, and chairs were available to just sit and be quiet. People of all faiths and of no faith use the Centre, so it was a privilege to offer ‘sacred space’ for folk to use in what might appear to be a very un-sacred place!!

Posted on 1 January 2005 in Aston