all of this because we are people called to live fully as human, and fear keeps us from doing so.
- The church also reflects outward to the entire world what salvation is, i.e. what it means to be fully human. The church is meant to embody God’s intent for all of creation.
- A significant part of God’s intent for creation is for all persons to be in relationship with one another, and relationships marked by love, equality, sacrifice—in other words, all of the characteristics that define God’s own relationship between God as Creator, God as Savior, and God as Spirit.
- Because we are made in God’s image, and God exists in relationship, then in order to be fully human we must be in relationship.
- The church is our primary community of relationships
Worship and service
Three broad categories:
- Worship God (Reaching Up)
- Encourage Each Other (Reaching In)
- Witness to God’s Work (Reaching Out)
Worship God (Reaching Up)
- This is what humanity is made for
- In worship, we honor God for who God is, for what God has done
- We identify our dependence on God
Encourage Each Other (Reaching In)
- The Holy Spirit gives gifts to the church “in order to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:12-13)
Witness to God’s Work (Reaching Out)
- The church exists to continue Christ’s ministry
- The gospel of Matthew ends this way, with a command from Jesus: “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.” (Matt 28:19-20)
- The church is the way that Jesus is still present, the way that Jesus is “with us always.” The church exists to keep doing what Christ did – to make disciples, to obey what Jesus commanded, and to do what Christ did in his ministry.
- In the gospel of Luke, Jesus describes his ministry this way: “[The Lord] has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. God has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18)
- This is what the church ought to still do. That’s what it means to pray, as Jesus taught us, for the kingdom of God to come on earth as it is in heaven.
- The kingdom of God is the type of place where the poor, the oppressed, the marginalized, and all people are invited, so that God’s house may be filled.