What is the Church?
Our May theme for the Today devotions, written by Jul Medenblik, is “What is the Church?”
When you think of the church, what comes to mind? Do you picture the large building with a steeple in your city or neighborhood, with a full parking lot on Sunday morning? Or do you think of a group of people who come together to encourage each other and to grow in their following of Christ Jesus?
When I say, “I’m going to church,” I’m likely referring to the building where I worship on Sundays and perhaps also meet during the week. But that’s just a building. More accurately, the church is an assembly of Christian believers, gathered in by the Holy Spirit, who are eager to live into God’s Kingdom and to share their love of Jesus with those around them. Church should really be a verb rather than a noun. Rather than being a place to go, it’s an action to do. It may sound strange, but we might better say, “I’m going churching!”
In our May Today readings, author Jul Medenblik will help us learn about the early church in the days following Jesus’ resurrection and ascension into heaven. Mainly through the New Testament’s book of Acts (short for “Acts of the Apostles”), we will first witness Jesus’ ascension into heaven and then look at the events on Pentecost—the pouring out of the Holy Spirit into the hearts and lives of the apostles. We will see how, filled with the Holy Spirit, those apostles boldly and fearlessly proclaimed the good news to all those around them that God’s Christ was Jesus of Nazareth, and how that early church grew in great numbers.
We’ll see how the church molded and shaped the early Christians. And we’ll see how the church can and does do that for us today as well. I hope you belong to a congregation with whom you can learn and grow and share your faith with others. And my prayer is that this month’s focus on the early church will help you to grow in your love for Jesus Christ and for his church today.
Reverend Jul Medenblik is a former attorney who became a minister and founded a church in New Lenox, Illinois, where he pastored for many years. He currently serves as president of my alma mater, Calvin Theological Seminary, in Grand Rapids, Michigan.
As you read the Today devotionals this month, may you be refreshed, refocused, and renewed in God’s Word!