As you have probably read, Derek will be with us for a good part of the next couple of months and I will continue my limited role at ClearView for that time. During that time, we will be working on a sermon series together. We are even trying something new which is preparing a sermon on the same passage for the same week for times when we will both be preaching the same passage in different places.
The theme for the fall is Re-Church: devoted to teaching, fellowship, breaking bread, and prayer. (Acts 2:42) The sermons for this theme will be based on the church experience in the book of Acts.
The term “Re-Church” is a conversation starter. It may be exciting or unsettling. It is definitely strange because it is not familiar, not jargon, not really even a legit word. But it is followed by Scripture…and not just any passage, but a foundational familiar text from the Pentecost narrative that describes the Pentecost church. And the content of the verse begins with the soft invitation to devote yourself. This is not a command, it is an opportunity to enter in and commit. And the four commitments are the air, food, drink, and clothing of church. Teaching includes preaching and podcasts, sermons, and small group study. Fellowship is gathering informally on a lawn or for an hour on-line. Breaking bread happens in a worship setting under the title communion and happens at a picnic table when a two or more commune in the presence of Jesus with food and drink and honest conversation. And finally prayer, final on the list but integral to every aspect as we pray for guidance from the teaching, pray for each other in fellowship, pray for the presence of Christ to nourish us in the breaking of bread.
Re-Church is going back again to the simple formula of basic mission building blocks in Acts 2. But we always read in context. The chapter starts with the outpouring of the Holy Spirit…what does that mean for us? And there is the end result of “many more were added to their number”… what is the Spirit leading us to measure at this time? Robert Webber wrote a book entitled “Ancient Future” which connects going back to our roots and discerning the future. Re-Church is about both going back to our foundation in Christ and forward to where the Spirit leads us in this time.
As we adjust to our new reality likely best symbolized by the masks we wear, we have had little choice but to rethink a few things about church. In Re-Church time we want to intentionally tie our re-thinking to our biblical roots. As we ask “how do we do church today?” we want to revisit the question “what is church at any time?” We will begin in the book of Acts because the early church was launched from the reality that Jesus had ascended and the Holy Spirit had been poured out. From there they had to learn to discern the Spirit’s leading and to deal with the challenges around them. That is still true today. We still have an ascended Lord Jesus on the throne and the Holy Spirit breathing life. So though our worship is COVID shaped, and our discipleship is digital, and our mission to bless is through masks – we continue to be called to figure out what God is calling us to be and to do right here and right now. And as always, that is best done in community, around the Word, sharing ourselves and our stuff and our food, and definitely bathed in prayer.