I've been thinking a lot about the body of Christ, lately. I fear we might be missing the point. Often when we think about the body of Christ (which the Bible says is the church - see I Corinthians 12:27), we limit the scope of our thinking to a local congregation, but what if there is more?
Consider Article 27 of the Belgic Confession (a Christian testimony used by the church with whom I serve) and its understanding of the term The Holy Catholic Church -
"We believe and confess one single catholic or universal church - a holy congregation and gathering of true Christian believers, awaiting their entire salvation in Jesus Christ, being washed by his blood, and sanctified and sealed by the Holy Spirit. ... And so this holy church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or certain people. But it is spread and dispersed throughout the entire world, though still joined and united in heart and will, in one and the same Spirit, by the power of faith."
I am struck by two things: "catholic or universal", and "this holy church is not confined, bound, or limited to a certain place or certain people".
What if by emphasizing a local congregation as the body of Christ, we have missed what God intends for us to embrace, which is the worldwide body of Christ? If so, what have we missed?
I serve on the World Missions board for my denomination, the Christian Reformed Church in North America, and we have seen for years how missionaries partner with Christians from all different traditions to advance Christ's reign around the world.
What if God intends the same thing for the church in North America?
What if there is only one body of Christ (see Ephesians 4:4-6) and each one of us who have chosen to place true faith in Jesus are part of it?
What if my role as a pastor is not limited to the congregation, who has called me but is to serve the church as a whole; the whole body of Christ in Albuquerque and beyond?
I am not sure I have fully worked through what all of this means, but I thought I would invite you into the conversation. I would like to hear your thoughts. Have you ever considered the meaning of the body of Christ as one, worldwide communion? If so, can you help me understand? If not, what do you think, are we missing the point?
Let's continue to discuss as we journey together along the way ...