Newsletter Devotional: Being the Church by Noah Wright

As we consider what it means to be the church in our current time of isolation, we could do worse than to look at the book of Ephesians. This letter is Paul's magnum opus on what the church is and how she functions.

It is easy to think of the church as a series of religious services or events; a combination of worship gatherings, potlucks, programs, and service projects. And while each of those plays a role in the life of a congregation, Paul reminds us in the book of Ephesians that the church is much greater than it's individual parts. He pulls back the curtain of eternity so that we might see the glorious plan of God for the church.

The church is the outworking of God's plan of salvation for the whole cosmos (Ep 1-3) and it is the embodiment of his presence on earth (Ep 4-6).

I love the way Eugene Peterson summarizes it, "Church is the core element in the strategy of the Holy Spirit for providing human witness and physical presence to the Jesus-inaugurated kingdom of God in this world. It is not that the kingdom is complete, but it is a witness to that Kingdom."

And so even while we can't be together for our services and programs, potlucks and meetings, we can still live out God's core purpose of the church.

1. We can still be receptive to the blessing of God
Ultimately the church is not something we create with our hands, but that we receive from the Spirit. To be church is to be "blessed in Christ with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly places." And so while we can't gather physically, we can still receive spiritually.

2. We can still bear witness to God's gift of salvation.
We can bear witness to the salvation Jesus offers by loving our neighbors well, serving those in need, encouraging our friends and relatives over the phone. Even now, there are opportunities to embody God's presence here on earth.