Are you in a Biblical Ekklesia? Well many will see this word and not recognize it. So let me take a moment and explain it. An Ekklesia is a collection, assembly, congregation, council or community of God’s people. This is still the core element of the Church that needs reinforced. Being a Biblical Community of believers is far more than coming to hear a sermon and/or sing a few songs. It is more than offering a name to be prayed for or placing money in an offering plate. Being a Biblical Community of believers goes back to the core of the first churches, even before Christianity was a legal religion.
Being a Biblical Community goes back to the start of the Christian society. As Jewish individuals accepted the power, love and sacrifice of Christ for their sins and their lives, they were often discarded from the family in fear of the retaliation that would take place. Nero and other Roman Emperors killed Christians via Lion’s Dens, the Coliseum or even hoisting their bodies on poles and lighting them on fire to be human torches. The impact was real, the impact was violent and the results caused the Christian Biblical Community to be separate from the Jewish culture. To decide to follow Jesus meant that you would lose your ability to buy and sell goods in the marketplace, that your life was in immense danger and anyone assisting you risked being captured, tortured and killed simply for associating with you. So it was, those that believed that Jesus was the Messiah, had to band together, fear death, encourage one another, assist one another, trust one another and live in conjunction with one another. Life in this manner was much different than it is today.
Today we live in instant communication but rarely talk and have deep heart to heart conversations. Studies show that friends are becoming fewer, depth of friendship shallower and the closeness of friendship becoming more distant. We lack the living of life on life with one another, sharing heart struggles with the deepest and closest of friends and continue to lose sight of a sense of belonging to something that is real and meaningful. In many ways we are living out the adage, “I am my own person.”
We were not created to walk alone. We were created to live in a meaningful, caring, life-giving, supportive community and give as much as we receive in relationships. In the Book of Acts we find in Chapter 2 verse 38-42 a passage expressing the early Church community. The early church lived lives that were interconnected, interdependent and involved. We face days today which we live independent, separated and isolated. Just by looking at these three words we are able to see quickly how different these two realities have become.
Are you looking at your life and wanting more depth, love, care, nurture, true friendships and a place to grow safely? Then may I encourage you to visit the many congregations of Biblical Communities in our area and become part of something much greater and very meaningful. Don’t wait, you are invited!
The writer is the pastor of Immanuel UCC in Kettlersville and St. Peter’s Church in New Bremen.