Posted by: theacres | May 8, 2013

More bimbling thoughts about church

Since my last couple of entries to this blog I’ve been giving the whole ‘church’ thing a bit more thought and prayer. Some of the blurry images are perhaps starting to form a swirly, more coherent picture. I’m not saying that it’s a pretty picture as such, or even if I’m looking in the right direction, but it’s starting to look like something…

Defining what ‘church’ means brings about nearly as many differences of opinion as there are flavours of church, but the one that’s striking me at the moment is based around the Greek word ekklesia. I’m only really speaking here with wiki-knowledge, I’m in no way an expert on Greek, or theology, or history, or indeed anything, but as far as I can glean it means a gathering or assembly (ostensibly of Greek people).

When you start looking at some of the theology behind the definition it gets really quite complicated, and in some cases, a bit pissy. The thing that strikes me about most of the definitions, and most of the presentations of the word, is that it’s people who know each other, who are gathered. It’s simple stuff that i’ve heard a million times before – church isn’t a place, or a thing, it’s a bunch of people- but it bears thinking about from time to time, lest I forget.

There’s an interesting blog by Alan Knox which states:

In some cases, the term ekklesia refers to all of God’s people which he has “assembled” or “gathered” out of the world. In other cases – most cases – the term refers to actual gatherings of God’s people, often designated by geography or location. Interestingly, in this latter case, the term ekklesia does seem to refer to subset of a larger ekklesia (i.e. the “church” in someone’s house as a subset of the “church” in a city). However, these subsets are never set against one another; they remain part of the larger ekklesia.

I have no way, without extensive study which I haven’t got the time or inclination to do, to say whether this is right or wrong, but I kinda like the sound of it. Little cells of people who are tied into a much larger body.

In my daily readings today I got to the bit where Paul talks about the body being made up of individual parts, each one distinct and with a job to do. Different jobs for different bits. They look different, they are different, but they’re all part of the body. To stretch the analogy further, the body is made up of different parts, and those parts are made up of different bits – I’m not an expert in biology, either – so you’ve got parts, of parts, of parts… …there’s probably some software development analogy here but it’s been a long time since I thought in those terms.

I digress.

We went back to our old church on Sunday for the baptism of our friends’ (j&n) icklest child, it was a bit weird but it confirmed that we’d done the right thing in leaving, even though it was hard to tell people that we were still looking. Some friends (d&a) made a return too, he’s now all dog-collared up and gave the message. It was a really good one, and it can probably be summed up in a few words. ‘Wait. Trust. God’s got a plan.’ It was a big encouragement to me, and I’m trying to believe it and trust Him.

After the service we piled round to j&n’s house for a chilli and chill out. There were loads of people there, the sun was shining, there were kids everywhere, dogs, rabbits, chilli, pimms. It was great, busy but calm. Kind of like what I think church (should I start calling it ekklesia?) should be… …maybe?

Anyway, I was talking to d&a at different times and they both mentioned ‘big church, little church‘ which was something that they were involved in when they were at college. I’ve only got what they said, and what’s on the website to go on, but it seems like a really interesting idea. Small gatherings with big backing.

Also there’s a church in our town that has packed in its Sunday morning venue and meets in people’s houses instead. Now, I’ll have to do some delving to find out if that’s an intentional thing or whether it’s because there’s only a few of them, but again it’s interesting to see.

I feel a bit encouraged that the thinking we’ve been doing isn’t entirely out there, and there are others thinking similar thoughts. It’s a work in progress, and we want to get involved with what God’s doing, not make up something ourselves.

Here are the #fivethings

1. Sunshine – I know I’ve done this one before, but it’s been SO long!
2. Sunday afternoons spent with friends
3. Finally the possible whiff of feasible promotion at work
4. Getting home from work at half four
5. The new Ghostpoet album

God bless you, thanks for reading.

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Responses

  1. Re: “Defining what ‘church’ means” …
    Apparently Acts 2v42 is supposed to represent the four hallmarks of a church.
    Of course each can exist in different forms but the principle seems pretty sound.
    Might be a useful ‘yardstick’.
    Catch you soon,
    TJ


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