God’s Call to Be the Church - Wholly Loved - November 24

Published: Nov 24, 2023

God’s Call to Be the Church 

By Jessica Brodie

“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” Matthew 16:18

During the coronavirus lockdown, it became clear: The church isn't a place but a people, and it exists beyond any walls or boundaries. 

This is not to make light of what everyone experienced. People became sick and died, our routines were upended, many lost jobs and financial security… Everything was surreal and terribly frightening. 

But it also provided an opportunity.

When our gathering places temporarily closed, we faced a new reality that meant learning to connect with other Christians and live as the church in alternative and sometimes uncomfortable ways. That’s our call always, but when our world feels chaotic, even more so.

When everything feels uncertain and abnormal, we remember things of God never change. The sun still rises and sets, and the birds still greet each new day with song. God’s love for us is still just as strong, and His promises still stand, timeless and unwavering. And for those of us who are believers, who understand Jesus is the Son of God, the One who saves, the Holy Spirit still ignites our hearts.   

The Holy Spirit can and does move through each of God’s children regardless of physical proximity. He moves through phone lines, radio frequencies, the internet, and any other brilliant technological we can imagine. He moves as we engage on social media, and it’s a glorious thing.

I’m not sure how Jesus pictured His church when he stood before His disciple, Peter, and promised God’s kingdom would advance and endure. But I don’t think He imagined an earthly building. All structures, like earthly kingdoms, rise and fall. But God’s kingdom cannot be overcome. For God, and God’s people, live on forever, ushering in His glory and His will on earth by whatever means possible. 

We have a precious gift each day to live God’s love beyond church walls. What does that mean to you? 

Jessica Brodie is an award-winning journalist and a member of the Wholly Loved Ministry team. She’s also an author who currently serves as the editor of the South Carolina United Methodist Advocate, the oldest newspaper in Methodism. She is the author of More Like Jesus: A Devotional Journey (2018) and editor of Stories of Racial Awakening: Narratives on Changed Hearts and Lives of South Carolina United Methodists (2018), both from her newspaper’s Advocate Press. She also writes contemporary women’s fiction, represented by Bob Hostetler of The Steve Laube Agency. Her novel The Memory Garden won the ‘American Christian Fiction Writers’ 2018 Genesis Contest. She has a faith blog at JessicaBrodie.com.

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Originally published Friday, 24 November 2023.