Do you think of your church as a community center or community project? Do you think of your church as a place where other people are working to make services available to you and your family and sometimes you're asked to help out, too? Or do you think of your church as the people participating in those services together?
If we're not careful, we can think of church as a place, or as an event. But the Church is a living, breathing community of God's children being knit together by the work of God in and through each of them on a personal and relational level, where each and every person involved is vital to the vitality of the whole.
Our God is a relational God. For eternity past, the Trinity has been in perfect and unbroken community - Father, Son, and Spirit. It is an outflow of the loving community of the Trinity that results in Creation...and ultimately in the sacrificial reclamation of sinful people like you and me out of the grasp and sin and darkness into the glorious light of community with God for all eternity.
The tangible expression of that fellowship to a lost and dying world is local churches living in sacrificial, loving, joyful community together.
Our local church is a community project. It takes every one of us actively pursuing community together in order for us to completely fulfill our purpose. And without one another, we cannot do what God has called us to do - reflect the Light of Life in the darkness of our world.
So as we gather this weekend, let us do so with expectation that we will be served and encouraged and taught and exhorted. But let's also do it with the awareness that we're needed...that apart from each of us participating - apart from each one of us making our unique contribution based on the gifts God has generously given to us - the reflection of God's glory emanating out from this church body to a watching world is not as poignant as it ought to be.
And no matter what contribution you expect to be capable of making this weekend, don't fail to make it with joy on your face and thankfulness in your heart that God has given you a local community in which to live out the purpose for which He placed each one of us on earth. What a privilege it is to gather to participate in the public celebration of the union with God through Christ that we all enjoy!
Here are the songs we'll sing and the Scriptures that will make up our service this week.