This Sunday many of us gathered together with other people making something we call “the church”. It is fitting on such a day that we ponder what we mean by this word. Let me share Eugene Peterson’s answer for your reflection (from The Pastor, 110):
“The short answer that I had come to embrace through the years of my pastoral formation….is that the Holy Spirit forms church to be a colony of heaven in the country of death….Church is a core element in the strategy of the Holy Spirit for providing human witness and physical presence to the Jesus-inaugurated kingdom of God in this world. It is not that kingdom complete, but it is that kingdom.
It has taken me a long time, with considerable help from wise Christians, both dead and alive, to come to this understanding of the church: a colony of heaven in the country of death, a strategy of the Holy Spirit for giving witness to the already-inaugurated kingdom of God.”
As you listen to this definition by a pastor-poet, what would you add, subtract, or highlight?