Be the Church
Be the church. That is what I am asking you to do. Do you have any idea what that means?
I think you do, if you thought about it for a moment or two.
Don’t take this too literally. I still wish to see you Sunday mornings when we get to do that. But there is more to being a Unitic than attending Service at the Center.
Did you know that the word “church” is translated from the Greek term meaning “assembly,” “congregation,” or “meeting?”
In the New Testament, the word is confined strictly to refer to the congregation of believers in Jesus the Christ.
It is worth mentioning that in the New Testament, no synagogue, temple, chapel, tabernacle, building or any other meeting place was ever called a “church.”
The term always referred to the Christian assembly and it was used for both the local community of believers and the overall collection of followers of Jesus the Christ.
Therefore, the ministerial responsibility of the local church falls upon the members as a whole, you & me. As we all identify our gifts and take on the responsibility of sharing them, the church increases its capacity to bless and to fulfill its mission.
And what is our Mission? Here it is again… We explore spiritual consciousness in a loving, accepting community through teaching and living universal spiritual principles.
Think on that…
Our Vision, Mission & Values are not just words. They are statements of what Unity Spiritual Center stands for, what we present to our community & to ourselves.
We are told again and again in Matthew, of our status on earth:
“You are the salt of the earth.” (Matthew 5:13)
“You are the light of the world.” (Matthew 5:14)
“You are…a city set on a hill.” (Matthew 5:14)
You are the church! It’s up to us (you and me, all of us!) to be the mouth, the hands, and the feet of Jesus -of God—to be the church!
What does that mean?
It means community involvement like our outreach projects, our tithing to various local community organizations, our Adopt-a-highway project — just a few ways we are the church. Being of Service to others is one of the reasons we are here.
That’s what God’s family is all about—laughing together, crying together, and dreaming together. In fact, the Bible says that Christians are put together, joined together, built together, members together, heirs together, fitted together, held together, and will be caught up together. There’s a lot of togetherness in God’s family! Being the church means experiencing life together.
And though we are not physically together at this time, we can still be together as we reach out to one another, we connect through FB, phone calls, emails and text messages…and even letters!
Your Board & Prayer Chaplains are contacting you in a variety of ways in an effort to be together….talk to them, laugh with them, maybe even cry with them. We are ALL here as a Community of faith, together.
Here’s another ‘together’:
I had a 6 feet apart dinner of Jersey subs with a couple members one evening at the Center. We caught up and enjoyed a meal, just like the followers of Jesus did…they broke bread together and shared their stories.
If you call yourself a Christian or a Unitic, like me, then you are supposed to be a citizen of God’s Kingdom.
Jesus teaches Kingdom, not building
And where is God’s Kingdom?
In the Lord’s Prayer, we pray, “Thy kingdom come. Thy will be done in earth, as it is in heaven”. Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is wherever people proclaim to follow God’s laws. It is in our hearts, and it is in our communities, our homes, everywhere we are.
We Must Live as Family Members
Consequently, there are no longer foreigners and aliens, but fellow citizens with God’s people and members of God’s household (Ephesians 2:19), God’s family.
We all must live as Family Members.
And how do we do that?
By following another Bible phrase that tells us even more about being the church -the phrase – one another:
“Love one another” (John 13:34).
“Be devoted to one another in brotherly love” (Romans 12:10).
“Honor one another” (Romans 12:10).
“Live in harmony with one another” (Romans 12:16).
“Let us not judge one another” (Romans 14:13).
“Accept one another” (Romans 15:7).
“Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16).
“Teach one another” (Romans 15:14).
“Serve one another in love” (Galatians 5:13).
“Be kind and compassionate to one another” (Ephesians 4:32).
“Encourage one another” (Hebrews 10:25).
“Offer hospitality to one another” (2 Peter 4:9).
“Love one another” (1 John 3:23, 4:7, 4:11 and so many more).
In other words, Be God as you.
This is what you would be doing when I ask you at Sunday Service, what are you doing when you walk out that door?
Or in today’s case, what are you doing after you watch & listen to the Sunday Message on FB or the webpage?
I pray you are being safe, because that is being a family member of the Kingdom. You are doing whatever you are able to serve others, because that is being a family member of the Kingdom.
To be the church, all we do is keep our eyes and ears open to the people around us and try to show them love in whatever way we can.
Paul tells us in his letter to the Corinthians, that God’s presence is not just above and around them but within them. They are the very “Body of Christ” on earth,
The idea of them needing to visit a specific place to have proximity to God was now ludicrous. They were the place. They needed only to go inward.
And that means many things…
You might be talking faith and life with a group of friends in your home.
You might be taking a nap alone on a grassy field by a steam.
You might be with a couple of people, breaking bread and remembering that God’s presence is promised there, and living life with reverence and gratitude.
You might be enjoying a Message and Fellowship at our Center.
All equally sacred. All equally holy. All you being the Church.
Here’s a story, you tell me what your thoughts are after I’ve finished telling you about it:
This is a firsthand account from a young man who grew up in Nazi Germany. He considered himself a Christian and was a part of a small church that gathered every Sunday to worship together.
The church had heard rumors about what was happening to the Jewish people. But they mostly tried to ignore the stories; they felt so powerless to stop the Nazi machine.
This church had been built a little too close to the train tracks. And lately, the trains had been running a lot. But the problem wasn’t the train; it was the cargo.
In this little church building, the German Christians could hear the sound of Jewish people on those trains. They could hear the train whistle as it would begin to approach, immediately followed by men and women screaming for help as they went barreling toward a Nazi death camp.
These church people had hearts, so the screams tormented them. They knew they had to do something, but they believed nothing they could do would make a difference.
So over time, they learned the schedule of the train, and they planned to start singing hymns to keep from hearing the loud cries from the doomed people rushing right past their walls.
Well, your thoughts…
Why am I telling you this story? Anyone have a thought?
I wish we were together to hear them, but you can always let me know.
Unfortunately, there are people calling themselves Christians and even, Unitics, who are like those German Christians. They attend Service but ignore the suffering of the world and try to escape from God’s call for us to participate in it.
This is not a new problem. The people of God throughout the centuries have been trying to pull this one off. It’s easy for us to start thinking that if we just perform the right ceremonies or do the correct rituals, God won’t expect more of us.
But from Moses to the Prophets to Jesus, God has been adamant that part of what it means to be Her people has a lot to do with engaging the world outside of whatever walls we find ourselves in.
Today, we find ourselves in the middle of a pandemic…the world is experiencing the very same thing we are…maybe not in the same way, and the whole world has a chance to make a difference.
Instead of escaping by leaving the church pews, or making excuses to not attend, not engage -to hid behind Netflix, or the drink of choice, our jobs, the internet—anything to avoid hearing the cries of the people in need, we can step into being the church.
We can reach out to our Unity Community for a start. We all need that virtual hug that we are missing every week. Make it a point to reach out to someone every week…more then one would be even better!
Is there someone where you live that you could make sure they are ok, doing it safely, of course.
Are you able to volunteer? Can you aid the food bank? They are sorely in need of help as they help others.
What else is there? There’s you?
What are you doing for you? Are you being safe? Are you taking care of yourself physically? DO you make time for your spiritual self as well as physical? Do you take care of your emotional side? How, by reaching out when you need to…we are not meant to be an island. Remember all those together statements from the New Testament? You are not alone…Spiritually or emotionally. And soon, physically.
Now, we can interchange the word for church with Center.
The Center isn’t the only place to meet God, but at her best, the Center is where we learn how to meet God everywhere else. The Center is where we learn how to offer our lives for the common good and for God.