By Not Known
What actually is the church? The word conjures up many images and associations. We can have a picture of a building in a particular place. We call this church ‘Orchard Road Presbyterian Church’ although apparently that is only one of nine names we are known by outside the church. We can have a picture of a community with people, ministers, elders and deacons, a fellowship that is meaningful to us. We talk of ‘our church’ or ‘our home church’. We can also associate the church with worship services, events and activities. We talk about going to church, meaning we are going to worship or some meeting or activity at the church. Again we talk about church in terms of our denominational identity. We are a Presbyterian church as distinct from an Anglican or Methodist or Baptist or any other church.
So there are many ways we see the church and describe it. ORPC was once described to me as a MONUMENT sandwiched between a MUSEUM and an MRT station. And I was left with this image of a monumental sandwich (not yet linked by a Subway!)
Many images are used of the church in scripture. Some are very dominant images like ‘the people of God’ and ‘the body of Christ’. Some are less prominent but still very relevant to our understanding of the church. One book I read, listed no less than 100 scriptural images describing God’s people and His church. Over the next three months through our studies on Acts, we shall try to increase our understanding of Who and What is the church, how it started, grew and what contributed to its life and outreach.
From Acts 2 we see that the fundamental characteristics of the young church were that they were witnesses to the resurrection, a converting, baptising, teaching and fellowshipping community. They were united in many different ways, in worship, in prayer, in service, in sharing, and significantly had a good image in the community. They were daily Christians, rather than weekly or intermittent Christians.
What do we see in the church today? One observer of the church describes its members as being ‘lost in the woulds’
We would like to worship on Sundays but there are so many attractions and distractions on that day.
We would like to witness to Christ but it doesn’t seem to fit our tolerant multi religious and racial society.
We would like to give more to the church and the work of the Lord but Singapore is such an expensive place to live in.
We would like to help the poor, but charity begins at home
We would like to pray more and study our Bible more but there doesn’t seem to be the time.
We would like to serve the church, but we are so busy and the timing is not right.
Lost in the woulds?