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Weekly Devotional

Be the Church

Reflection by Liz Garrigan-Byerly

They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. 


Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles.  All who believed were together and had all things in common;  they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds   to all, as any had need. Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts,  praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved. 

 

I've gotten used to looking into my rearview mirror and seeing people leaning forward, squinting at my car at a red light. I've gotten used to people taking pictures of my bumper or driving by and giving me a knowing and appreciative nod. I've also gotten used to people pointing and laughing with their friends. I've gotten used to all of this since I put a "Be the Church" UCC bumper sticker on my car. 


What does it mean to "Be the Church"? As a pastor, I spend my professional life exploring and living that question and helping others do the same. In my personal life, as a Christian, the question for me has mostly been, "How do I follow Jesus?".  But having this bumper sticker on my car has brought the question of being the church into my personal life, into my daily commute on Route 9. I am now more aware of being a representative of the church in my daily life, not just in my professional one, and I drive less aggressively and more graciously because of it. That awareness is seeping into other parts of my personal life too. 


This summer, our worship will explore the phrase of the "Be the Church" banner. More than a social justice to do list, it is a call to faith lived in community, and not just our Village Church community, but in the wider community of faith. We'll be exploring this theme in other ways this summer, too. Join our new Pastoral Resident, Eric Ogi, for Bible Study on the scriptural grounding of these phrases. And check out this space as we branch out this summer beyond our own weekly devotionals, linking you instead to devotionals from across the UCC so that we can be in dialogue with the wider community of faith about what it means to "Be the church". The church that gathered in Jerusalem after Pentecost had no idea of what they were becoming; they didn't even know they were a "church." And yet they were asking the same question we are: what does it mean to be the church? Like them, we'll gather together to pray, to break bread, to study scripture, and to praise God, trusting the Spirit's guidance in all of it.  

 

Prayer: Come, Holy Spirit, come! 

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