“…present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship.” (Romans 12:1)
I write this letter as we are fast approaching the day of “Pentecost,” the birthday of the church. Pentecost is the day when we remember how God’s presence came in the Holy Spirit to dwell with the disciples. A “birthday gift” given the love revealed through the saving act of Jesus upon the Cross. We human beings are once again able to reflect the “image of God” to those around us – to be “Jesus’ hands and feet”; which is what we were created to do originally (Genesis 1:2-28). At Pentecost we celebrate the gift of God’s love, presence and remember the call to be the church. We remember that “Church” is not just something that we attend once a week; it’s who we are called to be.
Paul reminds the house churches in Rome of what “being church” means. It is a minute by minute responsive walk with God. A striving to live each moment as God guides; loving others, seeking justice, living out kindness, mercy and peace. Worship is the way we live throughout the week. Attendance at a service of worship is a time we set aside time to intentionally listen for God’s voice. But worship is bigger than just the hour. It’s a way of life; a connection that brings LIFE! ABUNDANT LIFE!
Henry Nowen writes in his book With Open Hands:
Prayer leads you to see new paths and to hear new melodies in the air. Prayer is the breath of your life which gives you freedom to go and stay where you wish and to find the many signs which point out the way to a new land. Praying is not simply some necessary compartment in the daily schedule of a Christian or a source of support in time of need, nor is it restricted to Sunday morning or as a frame to surround mealtimes. Praying is living.
Let us remember this summer that Church is something that we are and something we are called to be … not something that we just attend! Let us remember that prayer is a gift. A connection that calls us to respond to God’s Spirit; a connection that makes our life full and abundant. Let us come together each week to remind ourselves that we do not walk alone and listen. As we live each day, let us seek to lift and love each other in the name of Jesus! God has given us a great gift this birthday. Let’s not leave a day without opening the package!
Happy Birthday, Church!