Rev. Susan Eaton
It's Time to Be the Church
“So let’s not get tired of doing what is good. At just the right time we will reap a harvest of blessing if we don’t give up. Therefore, whenever we have the opportunity, we should do good to everyone—especially those in the family of faith.” Galatians 6:9-10
Maybe I’m biased.
I mean, the Church is the place I work.
It’s the place I’ve chosen to live out my calling to share the good news of Jesus through teaching, proclaiming, loving, serving, and mentoring others.
I love the Church.
I love teaching and being taught.
I love knowing others and being known.
I love laughing and crying and celebrating life and faith in deep community.
The Church has formed me my whole life. And, again, I’m not speaking of a cold, distant, organizational structure or institution in case that’s what you think of when you hear the word Church. I’m also not talking about an entertainment center where I have constantly been taught how to be a consumer or a faithful club member.
I’m talking about people.
People who invested in me when I was young. People who saw me. People who called out my gifts and encouraged me to use them. Adults who mentored me and gave me space to grow and become and transform. People who were witnesses to me of the love and grace of God.
That’s the Church.
And, honestly, my heart is a little sad right now.
Because what it means to be the Church and to be a part of the Church seems to be changing in many of our minds.
COVID has not caused this; it has highlighted it.
We are the Church called to come together. Called to be with one another in the same way God came to be with us. Called to be in community where we see each other—really see each other—and listen and lean in.
We are not called to be consumers.
We are called to give our lives for the sake of doing God’s good work in the world.
We are called to share and teach and mentor and guide.
We are called to pray and be changed by the love of God in order to change the world.
And we can’t do that apart from one another.
A single coal pulled out of the fire cannot maintain its heat. It needs the collective heat from the other coals to remain on fire and able to fulfill its purpose.
When we’re separated, we all grow cold. And I’m starting to feel a little chilly.
Maybe I’m biased, I’ll admit it.
I’m biased toward every good thing God has promised to us, and I don’t want to miss out on one beautiful moment He has planned for His people.
And as much as I gain from time alone with the Lord, there is a space in my heart that misses and craves TRUE community.
Not perfect community. I’ve never seen that.
But gathered, full of grace and love community that is being formed more and more into the image of God who Himself is true community.
Community is messy.
It asks something of you.
It’s not always convenient or easy or delightful.
But we are not complete without it.
We need you.
And you need us.
It's time to be the Church.
“So it is right that I should feel as I do about all of you, for you have a special place in my heart. You share with me the special favor of God, both in my imprisonment and in defending and confirming the truth of the Good News. God knows how much I love you and long for you with the tender compassion of Christ Jesus.” Philippians 1:7-8