As I think about what it means to be the church, the merchant’s voice rings in my ear….
It’s difficult to understand, difficult to believe.
The woman tells the story of the resurrection of Jesus and the very early church and I am left with more questions than I started with. Countless times I have been asked to explain the Christian faith – how can you believe what seems unbelievable? And yet the woman says it best:
I do not know if I can explain it to you beyond what I have spoken.
I believe because I believe. I’ve always believed. I can’t imagine life without believing the Story is true. But it doesn’t stop there. This belief – that the death and resurrection of Jesus fulfills God’s covenant promise – pushes us into action. It’s not a belief that we can keep to ourselves. If we truly believe it, our lives are changed by it.
WE are the chosen people. Through Jesus, God has chosen us to bless the world. We are called to tell the Story. We are called to live the Story. Through baptism, we are claimed as precious children of God. We are given the gift of the Holy Spirit – God’s presence with us, here and now. We gather together in worship to share the Story and to remember whose we are. And then, in response to this great love we have been given, we go out into the world and boldly share the Story with others – in word and deed.
It’s so easy to keep church at church. We go to church on Sunday for worship, maybe we stay for education and fellowship experiences, and then we head home. Sometimes we go back for mid-week activities, but we still go to church. What would the world look like if we stopped going to church and instead were the church?
I’m reminded in this chapter that Jesus didn’t call us to go to any particular building – instead, he calls us to go out. To reach those who haven’t been reached. To love those who have never been loved. We may be years removed from that merchant and the woman telling the story, but the Story remains. Our call is no less radical.