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WHAT IS THE CHURCH?
One in Christ
There’s a child’s finger play which goes like this: with your hands clasped together and your fingers intertwined on top like a roof, say, “Here is the church…” Then, move the “pointer finger” of each hand up, touching each other at the tips, “…and here is the steeple.” With the thumbs, create a “doorway”, “Open the doors.” Turn and twist open the hands, exposing an empty inside. “Where are the people?”|
The second part of the finger play goes like this: clasp the hands together again. This time, with fingers intertwined on the inside, say, “Here is the church. And there is the steeple. Open the doors…” Twist open the hands, revealing the fingers, “…And here are the people!”
The real church is more than a building. A church building is just an empty shell without the people in it giving life. Holy Scripture describes the church as the body of Christ and the people individually, members of it “Do you not know that your bodies are members of Christ?” (1 Corinthians 6:15)
Just what do the members of the church do, besides just filling up the building? Worship God? Yes! Sing? Yes! Pray? Yes! Hear the Word? Yes! Have communion? Yes! Fellowship and love and care for one another? Yes, yes, yes! And how are the members able to do all this and more? It’s because they’ve been drawn together in one Spirit to the Head of the church, Jesus Christ. Each one surrenders his individual self to give glory and honor to the One Creator, God and Savior of all mankind. In return, God who cares, loves and desires us all to be His friends, imparts us with Spiritual gifts to bring others to know Him in the great Family of God.
Gifts are varied, just as we are different one from another. Each does his part, encouraging brothers and sisters in the Way of Jesus Christ. His Body, guided continually by the Holy Spirit, functions and thrives Spiritually as it also grows in numbers.
Wherever God has placed us in the Body, we are to “…live and move and have our being…” as Paul spoke to the men of Athens. (Acts 17:28) Christ’s Body deserves all we are and have to give! In return, we receive God’s promise: “For thus says the High and Lofty One who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, with him who has a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” (Isaiah 57:15)
Playing church is over. What happens to the hands and fingers that have been playing church? They are once more a part of our physical hands, opened wide, energized by the Holy Spirit, a symbol of our giving to the world!
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© Constance Vanides