Jesus came to show God’s love for the whole world. He came to heal, teach and save. As he did that, he gathered a crowd. Some of those who assembled realized that he wasn’t kidding when he said the kingdom of God had come near. They were changed by that encounter. And when Jesus said, “Hey, you want to come along and help?” they followed him. They were the church.
Long before there were church buildings or seminaries to train pastors or even a book with the story of Jesus written down in it, they were the church.
The church is people.
And, today, the church is us.
We are the church when we get together. But we are also the church when we are at home, at work, at school, having coffee with the neighbor, doing our shopping, paying our taxes, marking the ballot. We are the church wherever we go. It is our job, in all those places, to share the good news of God’s love in everything we say and everything we do.
There is no experience necessary to be the church. The first people who answered Jesus’ call to follow him certainly didn’t have any.
Tomorrow: The first evangelists
Today we remember Florence Nightingale, died 1910, and Clara Maass, died 1901, renewers of society. This message was adapted from “Act Boldly for Mission” by Kelly Fryer that appeared in the July/August 2007 issue of Lutheran Woman Today (now Gather) magazine.