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Last week in chapel, the Year 2 classes did a presentation on ‘The Church.”
In chapel this morning, I spoke about: Where do we find the Church? In other words, where do we find God at work amongst his people?
Thinking back over my life, I have found the Church in many different buildings and circumstances. When I was about two weeks old, I was baptised in a small Lutheran Church on the outskirts of my home town. That church closed down a couple of years after my baptism, and I and my family and the rest of that church family joined with another congregation to form a larger church family in another part of town.
When I was about thirteen, I was confirmed as a child of God. That day, I was also admitted to the Lord’s Table. Ever since then, I have had the privilege of communing regularly at the Lord’s Table.
All through my life, I have heard the Word of God read and proclaimed Sunday by Sunday in many different towns and cities, in many different settings.
Where do we find the Church?
We find the Church wherever people are being baptised. We find the Church where people are regularly hearing the Word of God. We find the Church where people are regularly attending the Lord’s Table. God is at work through these “Means of Grace” (Word and Sacraments) bringing life and salvation to his people.
Over the years I have found the Church in all sorts of situations. From a small group meeting once a month in a home for regular worship. To a group of young people gathered around an open tomb at the Easter Confirmation Camps at Warrambui Retreat and Conference Centre in Southern New South Wales. From large urban congregations to just the three of us gathering one evening at Blackwater for a worship service. One of the more unusual places where I have found the Church was in an isolated station home about two hours south west of Longreach. In all of these situations, I have found the church!
Jesus said: For where two or three are gathered in my name, I am there among them (Matthew 18:20).
Jesus meets with his people who gather in his name, that is why we begin our School Chapel Services with the invocation. Jesus meets with his people and feeds them through his Word. That is why we have at least one Bible reading as part of our chapel service. He strengthens them through the Lord’s Supper. There are lots of opportunities for people to participate in the Lord’s Supper at various church services around Ipswich. We respond to all that Jesus does for us through our songs, prayers and commitment to serve him during the coming week. Then Jesus sends us out with his blessing. This means the Church, the people of God, are everywhere in our society, shining as God’s little lights in this world!