Sunday Worship Service begins at 10:30 AM
Third & Adams Street, PO Box 9774, Moscow, Idaho USA | (208) 882-3715

I Believe in the Church - March 26, 2017

Ephesians 2:11-22

We are working our way through the Apostle's Creed and today we are focusing on the line that says, "I believe in the holy catholic church and the communion of saints."

In essence, that whole phrase is what it means to be the church together. Let's start with where most people get hung up, the word catholic. Lots of people read that and say, "I'm not pledging allegiance to the Catholic church." Let me clarify, the fact that "catholic" is not capitalized means we're talking about the universal global church, not the Roman

Catholic Church. This isn't a statement for one group of Christians and not the other, this phrase basically says, "If we follow Christ as our Lord and Savior, we are the church, regardless of denomination." Said another way, I believe in a church that is bigger than my church or your church...the CHURCH, the Big C church includes all of us who follow Christ, regardless of where we live, what language we speak, what kind of music we use, or how long we stay in worship. We are part of the church, we aren't THE church, but belong to the Church.

We believe that church is Holy....not in the sense of holier than thou, or divine in and of ourselves. When we say Holy...we mean set apart for God. Holy as in belonging to God. The holiness of the church doesn't come from us, it comes from God claiming us. We are holy because God chooses us and comes to dwell among us. The church....the people of God who follow Christ gathered together become a holy place—a dwelling place for God. And in being holy, we are reminded that the church is not ours. It is God's. Our agenda and vision should not be dictated by our will, but by God's will.

Now this global gathering of the people of God is defined by something else....we are defined by Christ. Inherent to our identity as the Church is Christ's Lordship over us. We're not just any people getting together. And we're not just people who love God. We are people who have come to know and love Christ as Lord and Savior and are learning to grow in that together. Now, others can come and visit, everyone is invited; we certainly want them to hear who Christ was and what he does for each of us, that message is not exclusive. But our identity as the Church is inextricably linked to Jesus. We are loved by him, led by him, and saved by him. And we are to seek to follow him with who we are and what we do.

Together, we share in the Communion of Saints. Now, in the Bible, saints aren't those who have been made whole in death, instead, saints are those who claim and follow Christ. And they aren't just the most holy or most righteous. Saints are all those who follow Christ. So, you are a saint, and I am a saint, and he is a saint, and she is a saint. We are all saints and together we share in communion...not just the Holy Meal of bread and juice, but the sharing of life...the ups and the downs, the good and the bad....we become a community together. That may seem like a no-brainer...something that could go unstated...but it's incredibly important to know that community is inherent to being a follow of Christ...we don't do faith and church on our own.
Being the community of faith....the gathering of saints means being there for one another. It takes on many forms. It looks like:
• visiting someone in the hospital
• calling someone who is grieving
• taking someone fighting depression out to a meal
• it might mean taking someone to an AA meeting so they don't have to go alone
• or making a meal for a family trying to get back on their feet
• it means welcoming the stranger and taking the time to get to now them
• it might mean working on a home for Habitat for humanity
• or showing up to do some dishes or laundry for a new mom
• it might mean sharing a meal with the homeless man on the off ramp
• picking up some groceries for someone sick at home
• sitting and listening
• sharing of yourself
Being the church means working on relationships with each other. It means giving of ourselves AND receiving the kindness offered to us. It means paying attention, being aware, noticing what's going on, sharing love, joy, and kindness. I think we know those things. And we live them in lots of ways....I'm not saying we are failing as a church. But I am saying we need reminders. We need to be encouraged to look around, to see who is here, and take the time to find out how they they really are...because we can't be the church if we don't know the truth of their lives. Maybe things are going great and we can celebrate that with them. Or maybe things are falling apart and they need to know they aren't alone. How are you being the church? How is God leading us to be the church together? Sometimes we talk about it as "being Christ" it means showing love, grace, and acceptance. How have you been Christ today? How will you be Christ this week?
Some of us have enough on our plate, we're not sure we want more. If I'm barely holding on for me, I'm not sure what I might do for you. But, being the church also means receiving help, and sharing that we have a need so that someone knows to reach out in the first place. None of us are mind readers. We have to share what's going on for people to be receptive. We can't just get grumpy that nobody cared when we never let anyone know we were struggling. It's ok to be vulnerable. It's ok to not have it all together. Being a Christian doesn't mean getting it all right and having it all together. It means being an imperfect human together with other imperfect humans, some of whom will fail us. Maybe our question is not "How will I be Christ today?" But instead, "How will I let someone else be Christ for me today?"

Christianity is not a private religion, it's not is based in a relationship and being together, sometimes despite ourselves. We can certainly do acts of faith on our own. We can pray on our own. We can fast on our own. We can even worship on our own. But we aren't meant for that...we are meant for relationships and community. The church is dependent upon each of us. Without each of us, the church is not the same. The church, God's dwelling place, needs our gifts, our calling, our talents, our knowledge, our heart, and our care for others in order to be healthy, vital, and fruitful.

Hezekiah Walker has a song called "I Need You to Survive." It says:
I need you
You need me
We're all a part of God's body
Stand with me
Agree with me
We're all a part of God's body

It is his will that every need be supplied
You are important to me
I need you to survive [x2]

When we say, "I believe in the Holy Catholic Church, and the communion of Saints" we confess that we love and need Jesus AND that we need each other and are ready and willing to learn to love each need one another, to care for one another, and do this life together...not because have to, but because God intends for us to be a gift to one another.

Let us pray.

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Sunday morning parking at the church is available in the high school parking lot on Third Street across from the church and in the city lots west of the church. These lots are available only on Sunday mornings. A small lot for handicapped parking is available just off of Adams Street on the north side of the church, with an accessible entrance directly into the sanctuary. A lift operates between the Fellowship Hall (3rd Street level) and the Sanctuary . William Sound System Receivers and Headsets are available to assist with hearing problems.

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The First United Methodist Church of Moscow, Idaho takes as our mission to be the body of Jesus Christ, ministering to a community which draws strength from its diversity. Our mission centers on the worship of God, expressed through varied forms of prayer, preaching, music, and ritual.  See more...

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