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“Just as each of us has one body with many members, so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”
– Romans 12: 4-5

Let me ask you, do you believe this quote from Paul’s letter to the Romans? It is foundational to the church. It is our very nature. Yet we sometimes struggle and say, “We would be better if they were not members here” or “that person or group is what is pushing people away.” Let me suggest that everyone God has brought here is a part of everyone else God has joined into this local congregation. Let me say that in a more down to earth way—we all need each other! And maybe just maybe you too are part of what attracts and what pushes folks away. This idea is what fellowship is actually all about—and in Acts 2:42 the Scriptures say Fellowship, Worship, Doctrine, and Sacraments are what we have at our core gathered around Jesus. Fellowship is not having fun, although good fellowship is fun. Fellowship is not just meeting together although Fellowship can’t happen in isolation. Fellowship means that we stay together and seek each other out. Yes all of us. Even that one member who is so judgmental, or the one that smells funny or the bossy one or the one that does everything wrong.

“The apostles and elders, together with the whole church, decided to choose some of their number and send them to Antioch…”
- Acts 15:22

Since the beginning of the church, the faithful have sent representatives to meet and discuss matters before the church, to offer aide and support to each other, to teach and decide matters of doctrine, and to show unity and fellowship. The church first met in one of these councils or general assemblies in Jerusalem in Paul and Peter’s day and it was both glorious and controversial. They met to discuss whether one needed to be an observant Jew in order to be a Christian. There was debate and controversy, theology and politics and afterwards the messages went to the congregations starting at Antioch for their hearing and living it out. The church continued to meet in assembly, sending representatives from local congregations, regional governing bodies, and the wider church throughout history (We still repeat creeds from the Council of Nicea for example).

Romans 11:36—“From Him and through Him and with Him
are all things, to the glory of God forever!”

Psalm 73: 25—“Whom have I in heaven but You?
Earth has nothing I desire besides You!”

“Man’s [Humankind’s] chief and highest end {goal or purpose}
is to glorify God and enjoy God forever” (Book of Confessions--
Westminster Confession [Shorter Catechism]7.001, [Longer Catechism]7.111)

Pentecost is this month. Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit, is all about mission. What is mission? Many think of that as far away work by folks to evangelize the unbeliever. Others think of charity or justice work for the poor or needy whether far away or next door. All of that is right but not complete. Mission is what the Westminster Confession called our chief goal and purpose in life to glorify God (Paul says in words or deeds in Ephesians) and to enjoy God forever (serve is the old English meaning of enjoy). The Book of Order in it’s very first paragraph makes clear that we as believers and Church members have no mission of our own, but instead have as our purpose to ”participate in God’s mission for the transformation of creation and humanity” by telling everyone of God’s grace in Christ Jesus, calling folks to the sacraments, and being about discipleship in all we do. (F-1.01) How well do we engage in God’s mission here at First Presbyterian?

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