Last night our good friends, Steve and Sheila, had us over for a lovely pork chop dinner. Sheila made this really great brown rice with dried fruit and nuts. They have us over every Tuesday for dinner and I gotta say it is great not having to worry about dinner at all for one day!
We get together to stay in touch with the Body of Christ. They are part of the regular gathering on Saturdays that turned us on to the whole idea of gathering with the local expression of the Body in homes and we are grateful to Jim and Kathy for their persistence in inviting us. It is where we came to see that it is good that communion is part of a whole meal, the Blood a full glass of wine, the Body a hunk of a loaf of bread we all share in, that no one in particular is in charge and we can spend all night in equality giving praises to the Father, believing in our commonality in Jesus Christ and talking of the counsel we are receiving from the Holy Spirit.
No, I do not mean that they are into the currently popular cell groups, home groups or mini-churches that are adjunct to a traditional brick and mortar church. We strongly believe that we, those who believe in the saving grace of Jesus Christ, are the church. To talk of the church as a place or an event is kinda weird when you look at the references to church in the NT. You really can't come up with anything except that church is people and not a building or an event on Sunday or Saturday. Yes, it does refer to churches that are located here or there but that is the geographical location that those believers lived and worked in. And while many may agree in principle with the wrongness of the notion that church is a building or an event, it is so engrained in most of us that Rebecca and I are doing our very best to refer to one of the things the church does, that which most call "church," as "the gathering of the Body," "gathering" for short, to break our habit of language.
We meet on Tuesdays with Steve and Sheila as yet another chance to meet with the Body in a more intimate setting and minister to one another's needs. Lately we have been ministering to one another by reading and discussing A.W. Tozer's book, The Pursuit of God. Last night we finished up with the last chapter. Tozer did not disappoint us but once again delivered a very thought provoking chapter, Chapter 10, "The Sacrament of Living". A very good way to wind up an excellent book and a nice segue into our next choice, Richard Foster's, Celebration of Discipline.
Tozer writes: "A concomitant of the error (attaching sacredness to some acts while attaching secularity to others (summary mine)) which we have been discussing is the sacred-secular antithesis as applied to places. It is little short of astonishing that we can read the New Testament and still believe in the inherent sacredness of some places. This error is so widespread that one feels alone when he tries to combat it, It has acted as a kind of dye to color
the thinking of religious persons and has colored the eyes as well so that it is all but impossible to detect its fallacy. In the face of every New Testament teaching to the contrary, it has been said and sung throughout the centuries and accepted as a part of the Christian message, that which it most surely is not. Only the Quakers, so far as my knowledge goes, have had the perception to see the error and the courage to expose it."
Mind you this was written in the 40's, 1948 to be exact. A lot has happened to various denominations of Christianity since. Things he says about Catholics, in chapter 10, for instance can most certainly be applied to many denominations now.
Even Tozer doesn't completely avoid making divisions of sorts, the divisions man is so easily drawn to. Christ is adamant that we not attach what we perceive as important to things of his creation and there by justifying our actions towards certain people, certain acts, certain days and certain things. For the most part Tozer does say what most will not but what needs to be said so that Christianity can heal from the hurts that we endure from ignoring what is written in red. "Do not call anything impure that God has made clean." Acts 10:15.