Light | Reader – Easter 2020
Silence and stillness before God (2 minutes)
Reading: 1 Corinthians 12:26-27 (NIV)
If one part [of the body] suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each of you is a part of it.
Many theologians would agree that the Church was born on Pentecost following Jesus' resurrection (Acts 2). Not long after, and just a few short chapters later the Church faces adversity in the form of persecution, and is forced to scatter. Neither adversity or the scattering kept them from the mission of loving God and others well. Luke writes in Acts 8:4, "Those who had been scattered preached the word wherever they went." From Acts 2 to Acts 7 the church experienced weekly rhythms of gathering. In Acts 8, adapting for reasons outside of their control, they were forced to do church differently. Gathering and scattering have since been the meta-rhythm and model of the church. Right now we are in a scattering moment. As the Church in America, we have gathered in groups of all sizes for at least the last couple hundred years with very few interruptions. Moments like the one we're in remind us who we are individually and collectively as the body of believers called the Church.
Jesus never stops building His Church, we can join Him, even now, if we're willing. Right now we have an unexpected missiological opportunity before us. One that we can seize by the Spirit, in love. When the early church was forced to scatter the disciples couldn't take their buildings with them (historically they probably had none), but what they did take was the message of a loving God, the Gospel, the teachings of Jesus and their willingness to serve. In obedience, they served God by loving the last, the lost, the least and the lonely in practical ways. Regarding the current moment of scattering, Ed Stetzer, missiologist and director of the Billy Graham Center at Wheaton College recently said "If we show and share the love of Jesus well [in this season]...when we emerge from this crisis, I want the words that Eusebius (4th-century church historian) said about the early church to be true of us, "...the Christians deeds were on everyone's lips, and they glorified the God of the Christians.""Each of us is uniquely gifted to rise to this moment for the glory of God. Let's take some time today to consider how.
(Obviously, this cartoon was drawn before the days of Stay Home, Stay Safe orders, but you get the picture.)
Question to consider this week: How can God be using this current situation to make me more like Him?
Find a journal or the note app on your phone. Read 1 Corinthians 12. Answer the following questions in your journal or app:
1) What stands out to you about the chapter after this reading?
2) Consider how God has made you. What is the single greatest gift that you have been to the church or your community until now?
3) What has that gift looked like in the context of "normal" community or church until now?
4) How can that gift be adapted to serve others in the current climate that we're in?
5) Consider your willingness to adapt to doing church differently than you're used to. As you consider this what sort of thoughts or feelings emerge?
Prayer: Jesus, you are worthy to be worshipped and followed at all times. Thank you for calling me Yours and making me a part of Your body. Help me to see what You're up to and help me to join you there. In Jesus' name, Amen.
Conclude with silence (2 minutes)