Peralta Memorial United Methodist Church
MEANS A LOT OF DIFFERENT THINGS
TO A LOT OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE
SOME PEOPLE THINK OF THE CHURCH AS
BUT WHAT IF CHURCH WASN’T A BUILDING,
A GROUP OF PEOPLE, OR AN EXPERIENCE?
WHAT IF IT WAS A RESULT OF THEM?
WE DON’T THINK CHURCH IS A
NOUN AT ALL.
WE BELIEVE IT’S A VERB.
Jesus said that his followers would be marked,
and known, by their love. and that’s why we
believe that church is love enacted.
BUT, THIS ISN’T A NEW IDEA.
THE EARLIEST FOLLOWERS OF JESUS WERE NOT
DEFINED BY WHAT HAPPENED IN THEIR SPACE, BUT BY HOW
THEY LIVED AND ACTED IN THE PUBLIC SQUARE.
In the second century, when a plague swept the Roman Empire, Christians didn’t join those who were fleeing for safety to the countryside. Instead, they stayed in the cities to tend to the dying. They seized the opportunity to embody Christ’s love.
And when their neighbors practiced infanticide, exposing unwanted children to the elements—where they’d either die or be snatched up to be trafficked or enslaved—Christians adopted vulnerable children into their families.
DO ALL THE GOOD YOU CAN. BY ALL THE MEANS YOU CAN. IN ALL THE WAYS YOU CAN. IN ALL THE PLACES YOU CAN. AT ALL THE TIMES YOU CAN.
TO ALL THE PEOPLE YOU CAN.
AS LONG AS EVER YOU CAN.
METHODIST FOUNDER JOHN WESLEY CALLED THIS ACTIVE ENGAGEMENT OF HUMANITY “SOCIAL HOLINESS.”
By inviting others into their lives, including those who were isolated or marginalized, disciples of Jesus, Wesley maintained, would grow in their own commitment to Christ.
The United Methodist Church does want to share our hope in Jesus with more people, but we don’t expect strangers to knock on our doors and beg to sit in our pews. Instead, we believe the church grows itself by giving of itself, offering hope to a weary world.
Then those who’ve experienced the forgiveness and mercy of God gather as a community of hope—committed to worship together, practice spiritual disciplines and study Scripture. These are all ways we respond to the grace of God we’ve experienced, not how we earn it.
When “church” is a verb, when it’s love enacted, we live out what we’ve learned from following Jesus wherever we live, work and play.
© 2014 United Methodist Communications.
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