“Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into Him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
An Update from Citizens;
A snapshot from any given Sunday would consist of, 5 or 6 people on couches, 3 or 4 sitting on the floor, some in pajamas, some in jeans. Bagels, yogurt parfaits, pancakes, sausages or frittatas being consumed and empty coffee cups strewn around (we as a group are good to our taste buds). There is a guitar propped up against the wall and sometimes a make shift podium consisting of a cardboard box and a bird bath. A perfect environment for the Instagram–Happy-Hipster who wouldn't even need a filter to make this look cool. But more than that; the most important part is when the guitar is playing and our raw, real voices are singing praises and laud to our King - and when that make shift podium is holding like 40 pages of notes - and Christopher or Christian are filled with joy at the truth they are sharing (so much so that we talk for like an hour later than we planned because we lose track of time). Our church is rich with passion for Jesus.
These 13 people has gone through some changes in the past months. We have gone form theoretically talking about what it will be like to be in Oakland to some of us already living there (yay!!!). We have grown from thinking about what it will be like to be a living community and family to becoming an inseparable part of each other’s lives. We are bearing one another’s burdens and rejoicing with one another’s blessings. We are sharpening one another like iron and growing together as a family - helping us learn and experience firsthand what Paul is talking about in Ephesians 4:15-16.
Over the past year God has stretched me to my breaking point, more than once, and through these trials I have endured and learned things that fill me with a greater joy than I have room to feel. One of these seasons of learning would consist of learning church. By church I mean learning what the body of Christ is, and what discipleship looks like.
WE as believers are CALLED (without option) to be members of the body of Christ. But what is the body of Christ exactly? Well, you! Our human bodies can be used as a metaphor. Each individual on the planet was created with specific strengths, weaknesses, desires, passions, dislikes, etc. Those natural, unique abilities and desires were meant to work together with others to form a body. A hand, a foot, a tongue, they are are all different in shape and function. Paul gives us a clear picture in his letters; one example being in 1 Corinthians 12:4-11:
"Now there are varieties of gifts, but the same Spirit; and there are varieties of service, but the same Lord; and there are varieties of activities, but it is the same God who empowers them all in everyone. To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good. ...All these are empowered by one and the same Spirit, who apportions to each one individually as he wills." (ESV)
I as the semi- functional blog writer would make for a terrible preacher, not that God couldn't use me, but what I picture is a sweaty girl shaking in her skin looking at people looking at her. Not something I was designed for. But spilling words out of my fingers, I’m okay at (no one has to look at me). Just like a pastor may not be built for administration, but shoot, when he is on fire on the stage or on the couch, we are filled with the truth that is coming out of his mouth. We are a small group using our small talents. Our gears are well oiled and starting to turn. We are learning how to function as a working unit; recognizing each other’s abilities and putting them to use. I can see this happening and can't help but get a ball of excitement in my belly thinking of it. We are the Church! Not in theory, not in wish, but in reality! We are meeting people and loving them and caring for them as the first church in Acts has shown us. We are using our talents to serve these people in this great and wonderfully diverse city.