by Brooke Gregory
Recently, I had the opportunity to attend the statewide gathering of congregations for my Nebraska ELCA church. The experience fostered hope and a sense of unity in our purpose.
My husband and I arrived home late following the event and the next day was filled with activity – the frantic attempt to put our home life back in order: clean the house top to bottom, attack the piles of laundry, re-stock the fridge. A day of busyness and action – but certainly nothing to feed that sense of call I left with after the assembly – a call to do more, be more, witness more.
Sunday night is here, and I sit on our deck, computer before me. It is a perfect summer night and I try to avoid distraction from the chorus of birds, the laughter from neighboring yards and the quiet rustle of the wind through the trees. I consider my time at this assembly – a time apart from the chaos of the real world, gathered with the leaders and faithful people from the larger church body.
At one point during the assembly we were tasked to join in conversation and then write and submit a response to this question: What does it mean to be God’s church? This was part of a larger task force effort to seek to understand our identity as the ELCA in Nebraska.
On the three-hour drive home from the center of our great state, I read what people submitted. Some were short – two or three words – and some were a paragraph or two. Some very well-written with deep theological context, and some were … not.
[bctt tweet=”Ah, yes. To be God’s church on earth, we first love all as God loves us.”]
But all showed commitment to church and God; all showed a sense of people together – and nearly all were filled with action words: Give, Rejoice, Forgive, Speak up, Serve, Feed, Care, Invite, Share and on and on.
It was an enlightening experience, and I’m thankful for this small glimpse of how my friends in faith view the church’s role in the world.
I asked my son the same question: “What does it mean to be church?” He seemed a bit perplexed at first – but then said: “To love each other.” Ah, yes. To be God’s church on earth, we first love all as God loves us. In that – the sincerest form of love – those action words follow.
We are God’s church. I am God’s church. I am loved. I am saved by divine grace with no effort of my own. I step forward with these truths and live them out loud!
Brooke Gregory is a member of Immanuel Lutheran Church in Bellevue, Neb. She is a long-time supporter of Nebraska Lutheran Outdoor Ministries. Her blog can be found at https://familygodmoments.wordpress.com.