What Is Church?

“Church is an appointed gathering of named people in particular places who practice a life of resurrection in a world in which death gets the biggest headlines.”

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Today is Wednesday, June 21, 2017. Day 21,650. First day of summer.

“You can’t depend on your eyes when your imagination is out of focus.”
― Mark Twain, A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court
Goodreads

The word of the day is duende, a noun meaning, “the power to attract through personal magnetism and charm.” “Even as a child, she had an unmistakable duende that attracted the attention of passersby.”

Today is Make Music Day. So, in the spirit of Mama Cass, “make your own kind of music, even if nobody else sings along.”

Yesterday was a sad day, as we had a young member of our church pass away. It was not totally unexpected, yet we were hoping for some kind of miracle. A thirty-something year old lady passed from complications involving organ failure. She has left behind a husband and two children, a teenage son and younger daughter. If you are of the praying persuasion, please pray for this family as they grieve.

Tonight is our bowling league, but we are still unsure if C will be able to bowl. That will be determined during the day, sometime. I guess she’s waiting on some communication from her doctor as to the next step after the x-rays.

In other news, THE RED SOX ARE IN FIRST PLACE!!

TODAY’S DEVOTIONAL AND PRAYERS
All Scriptures are from the ESV unless otherwise noted

(From The Divine Hours)

But I call to God, and the LORD will save me. 
Evening and morning and at noon I utter my complaint and moan, and he hears my voice.

Psalm 55:16-17
May God be gracious to us and bless us and make his face to shine upon us, Selah.
Psalm 67:1
In you, O LORD, do I take refuge; let me never be put to shame; in your righteousness deliver me! 
Psalm 31:1
Come and hear, all you who fear God, and I will tell what he has done for my soul.
Psalm 66:16
Jesus asked, How can you believe, when you receive glory from one another and do not seek the glory that comes from the only God?
John 5:44

(From Practice Resurrection)

Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, To the saints who are in Ephesus, and are faithful in Christ Jesus: 
Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.

Ephesians 1:1-2

So we arrive at Chapter 1, “The Church of Ephesus: Ephesians 1:1-2.”

Eugene Peterson begins by describing the Church as “the textured context in which we grow up in Christ to maturity.” It’s difficult, though, this thing called church. Many people, in fact, find it to be “the most difficult aspect of being a Christian.” I can’t disagree with that. My wife and I, long ago, learned to really dislike the process of finding a new church. Of course, in Paul’s day, when Ephesians was written, such a thing was unheard of. You simply went to the closest, local gathering of believers in your town.

Why do we have church? “The short answer is because the Holy Spirit formed it to be a colony of heaven in the country of death.” I like that answer. Church is the central theme in the Holy Spirit’s strategy for “providing human witness and physical presence to the Jesus-inaugurated kingdom of God in this world.” There will be a lot of quotes as I go through this book, because I just can’t seem to adequately paraphrase Peterson.

Sure, over time, there have been a lot of issues with the church. We have been left with impressions of “bloody fights, acrimonious arguments, and warring factions.” Yes, these have happened, but they do not define church. They might define humans, but they don’t define church, and that is important to understand.

“Church is an appointed gathering of named people in particular places who practice a life of resurrection in a world in which death gets the biggest headlines.” I love that definition. And this “practice of resurrection” is “an intentional, deliberate decision to believe and participate in resurrection life, life out of death, life that trumps death, life that is the last word, Jesus life.”

I think I’ll stop there for today.

Father, help me to embrace this life, to practice this resurrection. I haven’t done well at this. I pray for more discipline to have this mindset in me that life, in this world of death, is something to be embraced, to be practiced.
Even so, come, Lord Jesus!

The LORD bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the LORD lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.

Grace and peace, friends.

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