I headed out over the weekend to the Blue Ridge Parkway to see if the perspective from a higher elevation might be refreshing. Oddly enough, I found myself thinking about people and people groups in a place that was more about getting away from people. I had been listening to a teaching on the early church from the Book of Acts and the characteristics of the church. It struck me that we get a great deal of "validation" from the associations we are part of. The college we attend, the military service we were attached to, the civic association we join, our place of work and our profession...these all provide a sense of identity and purpose. In a way, we find ourselves in the associations that we find ourselves in. But two associations, or organizations, are especially important in this regard: the family and the church. The family is the smallest and most intimate organization that every person is intended to get a start within and find security, safety and a sense of self worth and identity within. And when a person becomes saved; that is, places their trust in the work of Jesus on the Cross rather than in themselves; they become a member of the Church and hopefully find an extension of that body to associate with locally. We don't find our identity from being in the church, but once our eternal identity has truly been "found" in Christ...we express our identity and we mature in our identity in the context of that body. As has been said eloquently by others, the church is not an organization...it is an organism. As our identity finds fulfillment in the church, it finds expression through the church and every other organization that we are joined to, as well.
Hebrews 12:23 to the general assembly and church of the firstborn who are registered in heaven, to God the Judge of all, to the spirits of just men made perfect