A Study of the Church: The People of God in Context – Day 2

Day 2 – The church …

Who are we – the church? We are followers of Jesus Christ.

What does it mean to follow Jesus – that is – to walk where Jesus walked, to serve those whom he served, to heal those whom he healed, to stand beside those whom he stood beside, to provide for those without sufficient water and food, as he did, to speak for those without voice for whom he spoke?

As followers of Jesus Christ, let us look around with clear open compassionate eyes and see just where he would have us to be, see just who he would have us to stand beside, see just who needs our voice for them, see just who is lacking water or food, see just who needs our healing touch, see just who needs us to walk with them, today.

Where does Jesus Christ call us to go, to be beside, to speak or provide for, to stand beside, to walk with, or to provide his healing touch today?

“When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him, and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.

Then the King will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father; take your inheritance, the kingdom prepared for you since the creation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me something to eat, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you invited me in, I needed clothes and you clothed me, I was sick and you looked after me, I was in prison and you came to visit me.’

Then the righteous will answer him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you something to drink? When did we see you a stranger and invite you in, or needing clothes and clothe you? When did we see you sick or in prison and go to visit you?’

The King will reply, ‘I tell you the truth, whatever you did for one of the least of these brothers of mine, you did for me.’” (Matthew 25:31-40)

Jesus preached his calling – his mission – when he stood in the Nazarene synagogue and read from the Scroll of Isaiah,

“And he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,

‘The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. The Lord has sent me to proclaim liberty to the captives and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.’

And he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant and sat down. And the eyes of all in the synagogue were fixed on him. And he began to say to them, ‘Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing.’ And all spoke well of him and marveled at the gracious words that were coming from his mouth. And they said, ‘Is not this Joseph’s son?’ And he said to them, ‘Doubtless you will quote to me this proverb, ‘Physician, heal yourself.’ What we have heard you did at Capernaum, do here in your hometown as well.’ And he said, ‘Truly, I say to you, no prophet is acceptable in his hometown. But in truth, I tell you, there were many widows in Israel in the days of Elijah, when the heavens were shut up three years and six months, and a great famine came over all the land, and Elijah was sent to none of them but only to Zarephath, in the land of Sidon, to a woman who was a widow. And there were many lepers[a] in Israel in the time of the prophet Elisha, and none of them was cleansed, but only Naaman the Syrian.’

When they heard these things, all in the synagogue were filled with wrath. And they rose up and drove him out of the town and brought him to the brow of the hill on which their town was built, so that they could throw him down the cliff. But passing through their midst, he went away.” (Luke 4:16-30).

When we walk in the way of the Lord – walk where Jesus walked, care for those whom Jesus cared for, stand, walk, and march with the oppressed and the most vulnerable in our midst – those whose voices have been omitted from the ears of the powerful, we will be scorned and mocked, and people will try to push us off cliffs just like Jesus. Our response must be like his – to turn around, face our opponents, pass through their midst, and go on our way doing the mission and ministry of Christ, our Lord.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind, soul, and strength, and love your neighbor as yourself. Go and do likewise” (Luke 10:27, 37).

“The Lord has shown you, O mortal, what good is, and what does the Lord require of you but to love kindness, seek justice, and walk humbly with your God.” (Micah 6:8).

Let us pray … Holy God, we come before you in humble and obedient prayer, seeking your guidance and wisdom before we act or speak today. Lead and guide us, we pray. Reveal to us where you would have us to be your hands and feet, your voice and your presence in our community, among our congregation, and in your broad world, and grant us the courage, wisdom, words, grace, and compassion of Christ our Lord to be the very people you call us to be. In Christ’s name we pray, and together we say … Amen.

We are the church – we are Jesus’ followers – this is our calling, people of God – let us be about doing his mission and ministry.

Rev. Susan Carter Wiggins, 060220