Devotion for Monday, June 22
WE ARE THE CHURCH
Ephesians 3:14-18 (GNT)
For this reason I fall on my knees before the Father, from whom every family in heaven and on earth receives its true name. I ask God from the wealth of his glory to give you power through his Spirit to be strong in your inner selves, and I pray that Christ will make his home in your hearts through faith. I pray that you may have your roots and foundation in love so that you, together with all God's people, may have the power to understand how broad and long, how high and deep, is Christ's love.
In the 1970's a song-writing team - Avery and Marsh - started introducing a more contemporary style of music into worship - something we now call praise songs. One of those is in our current hymnal - #558 We Are the Church. The verse begins, "The church is not a building, the church is not a steeple, the church is not a resting place, the church is a people."
Nothing could be truer for our current situation. On any given Sunday in COVID-19 world, the church gathers around a computer screen, a smart phone, an iPad. The church is wearing PJs, underwear, gym clothes, casual dress. All the things we thought of as belonging to Sunday church seem to be missing - except the family of God is still gathering for worship. The family of God is still active in caring ministry too. We wear masks and gloves to protect each other. We sanitize our homes and wash our hands in respect for one another. We contribute to missions to help those who need it most. We are sewing masks for the people who don't have them. We are calling people to help cheer them and spread hope among those who are lonely and need care. As Avery and Marsh wrote, "we are the church together," even when we have to be the church at a distance.
As Paul wrote to the church at Ephesus, he prayed for God to give the church "power through the Spirit to be strong in your inner selves." He knew that that inner strength in each of us as individuals builds up the church. It certainly speaks to me today. My church family is still in my heart every day. The prayer list guides my daily prayers during my devotional time in the morning. The needs of my church family enter into my evening prayers as well. Prayer is a huge part of what the church does. The army of a praying church is a powerful force in the world. Paul let the church family know he was praying for them to understand the immense scope and power to be found in God's love. As we find that love growing in our hearts, may we spread it through every means possible.
Lord Jesus, Holy God, Loving Spirit, enter our hearts with your love and power that we may be the Church, showing your love to the world in every way we can. Amen.