What Is the Church?
Grace Andrews of Independence, MO, USA
You are called to create pathways in the world for peace in Christ to be relationally and culturally incarnate. The hope of Zion is realized when the vision of Christ is embodied in communities of generosity, justice, and peacefulness. -Doctrine and Covenants 163:3a
From my earliest memories, the church has been my center. I remember snuggling up to my mother, listening to the people pray, and watching them express worship in many ways. The church was also our social life.
School was a totally different environment. I can’t name most of my teachers. Blackboards with alphabet letters placed across the top, black and white pictures of Presidents Lincoln and Washington, sometimes a map-those were the only focal points.
In contrast, my church experience came alive. I learned of God’s love and of the Holy Spirit’s availability. I studied the huge chart stretched across our living room walls as my dad taught others about the church. Members unobtrusively deposited food on our doorstep in the middle of the night after dad’s stroke left him unable to work. I listened to apostles and other ministers who visited our home. I watched my grandfather kneel uncomplaining on a hard floor during prayer service. These precious memories provided a solid foundation.
Our pastor’s love for his congregation was evident. In my early teens, he invited several teenage boys, including my three brothers, to prepare short talks. They would present them on Sunday evenings at the church, with no congregation present. Then he asked if I might also attend to be the “congregation” for the boys. After each boy offered their thoughts, I listened to our pastor’s thoughtful suggestions and encouragement. I wonder-did he know he was also preparing me for future ministry?
The church is people who gather together and learn and share life experiences, who “look beyond the horizon” and grow with our maturing theology. The church is people who come to my door when I am sick or have lost a loved one and hold me in their arms. And Jesus is there in the midst of us.
“Be vulnerable to divine grace” (Doctrine and Covenants Section 163:10b).
This month, spend time each day noticing where divine grace is already pouring forth. Perhaps it is a simple awareness of creation’s systems and cycles that support our daily existence. The sun rises each day without being asked. There are underlying rhythms and relationships that hold the fabric of our lives together. Sometimes they fall into the background of our lives. We forget to see the natural generosity that spills over throughout our days-of the planet, the people we love, the Sacred Presence in all moments, the kindness of strangers we encounter, and the gifts we carry within. What is already being given in your life? What does it look like to be vulnerable to divine grace today?
Today’s Prayer for Peace
Engage in a daily practice of praying for peace in our world. Click here to read today’s prayer and be part of this practice of peace.