the work of the church

Posted on June 29, 2006

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work of the church
The Work of the Church

vs.

Church-work

With what shall I come before the Lord

And bow down before the exalted God?

Shall I come before him with burnt offerings, with calves a year old?

Will the Lord be pleased with thousands of rams,

With ten thousand rivers of oil?

Shall I offer my firstborn for my transgression,

The fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?

He has showed you, O man, what is good.

And what does the Lord require of you?

To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.

Micah 6:6-8

The Lord does not need our giving or our great sacrifices. The work of the church is to show the world his love in justice and mercy. This is what he requires of us first.

I hate, I despise your religious feasts; I cannot stand your assemblies.

Even though you bring me burnt offerings and grain offerings,

I will not accept them.

Though you bring choice fellowship offerings,

I will have no regard for them.

Away with the noise of your songs!

I will not listen to the music of your harps.

But let justice roll on like a river, righteous like a never-failing stream!

Amos 5:21-14

The work of the church is as much (or more) about standing up and fighting for justice and righteousness as it is about worship and giving.

Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites!

You give a tenth of your spices—mint, dill and cummin.

But you have neglected the more important matters of the law—

Justice, mercy and faithfulness.

You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.

You strain out a gnat but swallow a camel.

Matt. 23:23-24

They look at the small matters but ignore the whole picture. They practice church-work very well but neglect the work of the church: justice, mercy and faithfulness.

We are his body:

His hands, his feet, his face, his smile

To this world.

We are his love:

His compassion, his hurt, his anger, his outrage

For this world.

May his justice and his mercy reign on earth as it is in heaven.

The Lord carries out justice on earth

Through his body, his people, the church.

If not us, then who?

If not now, then when?

Ron Irvine

“You must be the change you wish to see in the world.”

Mahatma Gandhi

“If we have no peace, it is because we have forgotten . . .

we belong to each other.”

Mother Teresa

“We will remember not the words of our enemies . . .

but the silence of our friends.”

Rev. Martin Luther King Jr.

Organizing and perpetuating the organization of the church here on earth requires tremendous human effort, or “church-work”. If we are to be the body of Christ on earth, then we must show this world the results of that. The ultimate question to each church organization is this: What is the true impact of your church-work? Are you doing the “work of the church” here on earth? Is justice a result of your efforts? Are there less injustices being done in your neighborhood as a result of your church-work? Have you reduced the numbers of the homeless, the hungry, the hopeless? Do the resources of your church organization have a focused outreach to the “least of these”? Or are they primarily focused on padding the comfort of their own pews (for the “greatest of us”)?

Far too often, the church is one of the greatest wastes of human resources on this earth. If people within every church were to align all of their resources toward eliminating injustice in this world, and generating justice, mercy, peace, and love . . . what might we accomplish???