Greetings in the name of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ!
“Church” comes from the Greek kuriakos, which means “belonging to the Lord” (Kurios). But the word translated “church” in the English Bible is the Greek ecclesia. Etymologically, ekklesia comes from ek (“out of”) and kaleo (“to call”). Thus, by word derivation, the church consists of those “called out” of the world by God to himself. In this sense, they constitute the “assembly” of God’s people. According to Nicene Creed (325), Church is “one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church.”
Jesus did not intend to find a new religion called Christianity, the early church evolved as a necessary and appropriate development from Jesus’ preaching of the reign of God. When Jesus proclaimed the nearness of the kingdom of God, or the basileia, he offered an image that was basically communal, social and sacramental. Jesus gathered disciples who were to carry the good news of the kingdom of God. That is, God’s rule called forth a new human community for the whole world based on love, salvation, inclusion, and gratitude.
Jesus invited people to change their life – styles, their cultural ethos, and their communities to realize the peace offered by communion with God and neighbor. He spoke to those who were ill or physically maimed, people who saw themselves as invalids or outcasts, and offered them a healing that was social as well as physical and spiritual. The new communities are a people of God open to the presence and action of God—open to the poor, to women and children, to the disabled, to the sick. Jesus preached a radical, alternative understanding of what it meant to be “religious” or “spiritual.” Religion for Jesus meant living in loyalty to God over against all other competing loyalties.
Church always realizes itself in a twofold sense: as an event of God’s salvation by grace (Eph 2:8) and an institution existing to minister in particular historical contexts. Church is not to exist unto itself but to serve the world in realizing the promise of the kingdom as it is realized in “abundance of life” (Jn 10:11).Church is identified by those members who make a credible confession of faith in Christ, who separate themselves from the world by baptism, who partake of the Lord’s Supper, whose lives are evidenced by holiness in obedience to the Word of God, who submit to church discipline, and are faithful to the Great Commission and Witness. Both invisible and visible church constitute the true church of Christ, his bride, the ones for whom he died (Ephesians 5:25; Acts 20:28). Believers in Christ are members of the universal church of almighty God which transcends race, gender, and nationality.
Church is not a club functioning for members, but church can be a clinic where the sickness of sin, suffering and struggles of the people are attended. Church listening to the voices of elders, women, youth and children without losing the spiritual ground can transform church into the body of Christ. The mission of the Church is not only to receive the grace, mercy and peace of the Lord but also to make the church an instrument of grace, mercy and peace in this world. Therefore, the ministerial responsibility of the local church falls upon the members as a whole. The members must identify their gifts and take on the responsibility of ministry under the guidance of the Holy Spirit.
Seeking your prayerful participation in the worship and witness of the parish, May the Good Lord bless you all with Grace, Mercy and Peace.
In His Service