Be the Church

Church of St. John the Divine, Victoria BC Canada by Viet Tran

Being privately spiritual but not religious just doesn’t interest me. There is nothing challenging about having deep thoughts all by oneself. What is interesting is doing this work in community, where other people might call you on stuff, or heaven forbid, disagree with you. Where life with God gets rich and provocative is when you dig deeply into a tradition that you did not invent all for yourself. – Lillian Daniel

The Church is not a gallery for the exhibition of eminent Christians,
but a school for the education of imperfect ones.– Henry Ward Beecher

The feature that is supposed to distinguish Christian churches, Christian people, and Christian gatherings is the aroma of prayer. It doesn’t matter what your tradition or my tradition is. The house is not ours anyway; it is the Father’s. – Jim Cymbala, Fresh Wind, Fresh Fire

God calls people to salvation through the Spirit;
God also creates a community comprising those who are called.
– Matt Skinner, Working Preacher Commentary on Acts 2:42-47

It is easier to do church than to be church.
Bishop Peter Storey

I used to call myself a Jesus-follower, unable to identify with all these Christians. I wanted to rid myself of my affiliation with the Church, emphasize Christ as the centre of my faith without the baggage of the Church. But I couldn’t be a Christian by myself, and I am the Church, too, and here I am, there you are, there’s room for all of us. Part of what restored me to the Church was this: learning that the Body of Christ is bigger, wilder, far more glorious, than my own narrow ideas and personal experiences with her.
Sarah Bessey, In defense of the cafeteria

The Holy Spirit is absolutely vital to our situation today. Of course, He is always vital; but perhaps especially now. After all, if the Holy Spirit moves, nothing can stop Him. If He doesn’t move, we will not produce genuine fruit—no matter how much effort or money we expend. The church becomes irrelevant when it becomes purely a human creation. We are not all we were made to be when everything in our lives and churches can be explained apart from the work and presence of the Spirit of God.
Francis Chan, Forgotten God: Reversing Our Tragic Neglect of the Holy Spirit

Ephesians 5:25-27 (NRSV)
Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, in order to make her holy by cleansing her with the washing of water by the word, so as to present the church to himself in splendor, without a spot or wrinkle or anything of the kind—yes, so that she may be holy and without blemish.

How baffling you are, oh Church,
and yet how I love you!
You have made me suffer,
and yet how much I owe you!
I should like to see you destroyed
and yet I need your presence.
You have given me so much scandal
and yet you have made me understand sanctity.
I have seen nothing in the world
more devoted to obscurity, more compromised, more false,
and I have touched nothing more pure, more generous, more beautiful.
How often I have wanted to shut the doors of my soul in your face,
and how often I have prayed to die in the safety of your arms.
No, I cannot free myself from you, because I am you, although not completely.
And where should I go?
– Carlo Carretto in The God Who Comes.

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For more information on the scripture translation, art and the use of this devotional in other settings, please refer to the copyright information page.

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