Proper 16: Covenant between God and Us, Meaning Being the Church

BetheChurch-Logo2Hi everyone,

Today marks another Sunday of me not going to church.  While I miss communion, I don’t miss singing songs on how Jesus is God or listening to a alarmingly conservative sermon.  I’ve been enjoying sleeping in during my Home Church Sundays, so this Sunday is no different.

In John 6:56-69, Jesus concludes his synagogue speech about how he is the bread of life, and all that feed on him will obtain Eternal Life.  But people are confused and many of his disciples leave him!  Then Jesus looks to the twelve disciples, and asks “Do you also wish to go away?” I imagine in this part that Jesus is heart-broken, yet Peter answers in earnest: ‘”Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God,”‘ (John 6:66-69).

There are times when we are asked to believe and walk in the light of God.  Jesus, in this speech of his body as the bread of life, asks us to have faith and to continue that faith.  And from what we can learn from our other readings, Jesus’ body and blood are the symbols of God’s new Covenant with Israel (and later Gentiles).  In 1 King 8, Solomon dedicates the Temple for God and reaffirms the covenant between Israel and Him.  Solomon says, “‘Lord, God of Israel, there is no God like you in heaven above or on earth beneath, keeping covenant and steadfast love for your servants who walk before you with all their heart, 24 the covenant that you kept for your servant my father David as you declared to him; you promised with your mouth and have this day fulfilled with your hand,'” (1 Kings 8:23).  God is a covenant keeper, and we are asked to be keepers of that covenant as well.  Even in Ephesians 6:10-20, we are asked to put on the Armor of God, to keep steadfast to God and Jesus.  

But what does it mean to hold fast to the Covenant we entered into at baptism?  Even on a Sunday where I have neglected the church building, I have not neglected Christ’s body, the covenant people.  I have not neglected Church as a whole.  In fact, I’d like to believe I am standing steadfast to God’s people, whether I interact with them via twitter, this blog, or Instagram.  Social media is a powerful tool to still BE the Church with others.

Being the Church means worshiping, even virtually, with other Christians.  It means serving the least of these because they are the greatest in the Kingdom.  It means reading the scriptures and listening to Worship/Gospel music.  It means checking up on people and praying with them.  Anything and everything is about being the Church.  The church is not a building – it is a people dedicated to Jesus and his teachings.

Right now, I’m planning on having prayers sessions with my Mom (a fellow Unitarian Christian) and doing some hard-core Bible study.  It means making sure my husband and my sister (and future-sister in law)’s needs are being met.  It means praying for those in need.  If I had any money, I’d donate to certain charities to help those afflicted with trouble.  We can all serve Christ, even in little ways, as we Be the church this Sunday.  It doesn’t have to be some grand way to be the Church; it could just mean private prayer and worship with ourselves or others, if we don’t have anyone of our faith near us.

I pray that you will Be the Church this Sunday, and hold fast to the Covenant with God.  Even if you can’t attend church this Sunday, find just little ways to hold steadfast to Christ and his Father.

Alleluia and Amen.

Leigh Todd

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