Glory In The Church

“To him be glory in the Church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever. Amen!” ~Ephesians 3:21

We spent all of 2010 here at Legacy camped out in God’s self-description in Exodus 34:5-7. Moses tells God, “I want to see your face. Show me your glory.” And God responds by telling Moses, “I’ll show you my glory. I will cause all my goodness to pass in front of you.” And God reveals himself to his servant. He declares his name, his eternal qualities, his divine characteristics to Moses. We learn in Exodus 34 that God is compassionate. Gracious. Patient. Loving. Faithful. Forgiving. Holy.

Scripture tells us we are to reflect that same glory of God. As we are being transformed into the likeness of Christ, we are to increasingly reflect that glory of God, with the same glory that comes from the Father. We are to be compassionate. Gracious. Patient. Loving. Faithful. Forgiving. Holy.

On the last Sunday of 2010, I wanted us to consider what it means, what it looks like, to reflect the glory of God in his Church. What does it mean for God’s Church, this family at Legacy, to embody these eternal qualities of our Father? In preparation for this final Sunday, I asked our congregation about four weeks ago to send me their photos. I wanted them to send me pictures of God’s glory. How do you see the compassion of God? How is his faithfulness communicated to you? Where do you experience God’s great love?

I received 146 pictures from more than 70 of our members. Pictures of sunsets and babies, mountains and baptisms, grandmas and Give Away Day. And we shared the pictures with one another during communion.

 

Koinonia. Communion. Sharing. Partnership. Community.

What better place than at our Lord’s Table to share these testimonies to our God’s great grace and love? As we ate the bread and drank the cup, we rejoiced together in God’s great salvation as manifest in pictures of God using Legacy to feed the hungry, clothe the naked, and lift up the fallen. Pictures of the empty tomb followed pictures of our quilting ladies. Pictures of Jesus as the Great Shepherd were mixed in with pictures of our families reading the Bible together. Images of missionaries and sunflowers, vast oceans and VBS chaos, congregations in Vietnam and Ukraine and our own small groups singing at local nursing homes. Pictures of Al & Marie Grant, whose 70-year marriage reflects the uncompromising love God has for his people. A picture of Quincy, who is a constant witness to the glory of our God. A picture of DeAnn’s new back door, installed by her brothers and sisters at Legacy. DeAnn sent the photo to me, explaining that it daily reminds her of “the love that has been shown to me and my girls over the last few months. Not only have they repaired our home, but in doing so have begun to repair our hearts. That is God’s glory! I am blessed!”

                                  

Sunday at Legacy we combined the table imperatives of “recognize the body” and “do this in remembrance of me” in a powerful way. We saw Christ in each other on Sunday. We gave honor to what God is doing for and among his people. We explored what it means to be a “body.” And we recognized our God in Christ as the gracious force behind those faithful blessings.

Our table time should be the most important time of our Sunday gatherings. It should get the most attention. It should serve as the climax of our assemblies.

Sunday at Legacy, it was.

Peace,

Allan

3 Comments

  1. Rob's Dad

    The pictures were very cool – I adore koalas. Your last point is very interesting – if Holy Communion is the climax of the assembly, then why do we have the powerdown of songs and Elder announcements right before we walk out of the door? Wouldn’t it make sense to change the lineup card?

  2. Allan

    Announcements and slow songs: NO. Uptempo song of encouragement or shepherd’s charge or powerful closing passage: YES.

    Since God’s first meal with Israel’s leaders on the mountain through the first couple hundred years of church history, the Lord’s Supper has always been the celebratory climax of any assembly. It shifted horribly in the early middle ages. We haven’t done a very good job with it since.

  3. Rob's Dad

    Can you have a message flashed up on the screen to make sure everyone knows the difference – I’m not sure people up front or in the congregation are which one they are hearing (or saying)

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