What does it mean to be Church?
They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers.
Awe came upon everyone because many wonders and signs were being done through the apostles. All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. ~ Acts 2:42-47
One of the things I've noticed about being a Lutheran is that quite often, Lutheran clergy like to debate with each other about liturgy and worship styles.
Well, not even just clergy. We all have our preferred way of worshiping. Some like the old hymns, others like contemporary. Some like to hear the full liturgy from the green book (or even the old red one), and others want to keep it as short and simple as possible. I'm as guilty as everyone else. I have my favorite ways of worshiping just like everyone else.
But sometimes it feel like our conversations about worship are ones we have tied in with our conversations about what church is.
As if church is simply the time when we worship.
But for the early Christians "church" was the congregation itself. It was who they were.
And what they did, was teach, eat, serve, share, pray, and just enjoy being together.
There's no formula in Acts for what worship needs to look like.
There's only the lifting up of a community. One who prays and shares and follows God's command to love each other as God has loved them.
The richest moments I've found in all the churches I've been a part of have been those moments when we remember that is who we are as well.
Holy God, help us to be church in the best and most loving possible way! Amen