My Church is on my sofa. My church has gone sofar.
I believe that the original Church in Jerusalem is our best model for a Kingdom of Heaven shaped society, the most direct demonstration of the body of Christ, because it’s the one that the Holy Spirit initiated at Pentecost before anyone had any idea of what Church was supposed to be like; it’s where it’s at! The first 3120-ish men and women were filled with the Holy Spirit with Jesus’ words and life still in their heads, in their hearts. The core 120 of them knew him as man to man. They knew his heart for humanity and his intention for his people, and from that sprang the community that we call Church.
So what was the early Church like? We’re told the early Church was “of one heart and soul”, so much so, they made a thing of selling their valuable assets (Tithing? So Old Testament. Chuck it all in!) They put the proceeds at the feet of the Apostles for them to distribute to the poor. This was so successful that it was said “there were no needy people among them”! Talk about Christian praxism & charity, eh!
Another thing I’ve noticed from reading Acts is that the Church would regularly meet in the homes of it’s members. In fact, it seems that the extended households of that culture were each ‘Churches’ in each City. There’s fifteen direct references to the church in the home in the NT, from:
“Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts”
and then further on:
“Likewise greet the church that is in their house”
Up until persecution broke out after Steven’s stoning public spaces were important gathering points for Jerusalem’s household-Churches, so we do see a good case for mass fellowship gatherings. However, Churches were primarily house-based, as they shared their most important meal together, the agape communion meal, in their houses.
My third thought on the example we have of Church is that Jesus himself said that when a couple of people are gathered in his name, he’s there too. So according to Jesus, a bunch of Jesus-people together is all it takes to be a Church. No bells & whistles, no incense or lecterns, no big screens, fancy lights or drumkits. Though all of these can be useful, like the temple courts they’re not what the Church is made up of, they’re just useful.
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