10 February 2012

church exploration

Our family/our church is searching for a larger local body in Canby to be a part of. This has prompted a lot of study, prayer, conversation, reading, etc, etc, etc about the nature of this enigmatic thing called The Church. There's a lot of language and a whole variety of connotations to each different term that we use surrounding these concepts.

Even as I look back at that first paragraph I smile. I said a few things that can be taken in multiple ways: our church, larger local body, The Church. The other night as our home community talked about the Ephesians and the church, I realized that if I'm not careful, I can easily misinterpret another person's comments just because we have different mental constructs about the word "church."

I feel like we have a whole load of ideas about the church, probably the majority of which are shaped by personal experience and human conversation rather than by God's word. Gosh. Foo! I want my mind, heart and soul to be trained and shaped by his thoughts on what the church is.

So, we're studying through Ephesians. I was having a hard time understanding this passage from the end of the first chapter.

Here's the ESV of 1:21-23:
(Christ is)...far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and above every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. 
And he put all things under his feet 
and gave him as head over all things to the church, 
which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.

And The Message:
He is in charge of it all, has the final word on everything. 
At the center of all this, Christ rules the church. 
The church, you see, is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church. 
The church is Christ's body, in which he speaks and acts, by which he fills everything with his presence.

Ahhh! I love that!
All things under his feet meaning at the center of all this.
Gave him as head meaning Christ rules the church.
And then in The Message, the sentence, The church, you see is not peripheral to the world; the world is peripheral to the church.
His body meaning in which he speaks and acts.
The fullness of him who fills all in all meaning by which he fills everything with his presence.

That sentence about the world being peripheral to the church blows my mind. Train my eyes to see!

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