Ephesians 4:11-13 says, "And He Himself gave some to be apostles, some prophets, some evangelists, and some pastors and teachers, till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ; for the equipping of the saints for the work of ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ."
What are the ingredients for building up the local church -- those who are members, those who attend, and those who watch from afar?
The Scripture is clear: we need "the unity of the faith". We require one voice. We require a catholic voice. Catholic simply means "full, whole, and complete." Our church is a rooted church. We look back over the past 2000 years of Christian history with thoughtful consideration. G.K. Chesterton noted that we are governed by "the democracy of the dead," namely that those who have gone before us in the Faith, since they are of a greater and more universal voice, ought to have sway over how we worship, what we teach and how we practice our faith.
Second, we need "the knowledge of the Son of God." Jesus said to the Pharisees, "You examine the Scriptures carefully because you suppose that in them you have eternal life. Yet they testify about me." (John 5:39, emphasis added) We are challenged by Jesus to look for Him on every page of Scripture and not any pet doctrines which we have developed, which contradict what the Church has always believed. And why? Because God wants us to eat from the tree of life and not from the tree of knowledge. "Knowledge puffs up, but love edifies," St. Paul writes. We are to find life in love -- love for God, and for one another. This only can happen if we are looking for Jesus and Jesus only in the pages of Holy Scripture.
Third, we need to be "a perfect man." This is not talking about floating on clouds. This is talking about an active pursuit of the life of holiness. This is more than just quitting smoking, drinking and dancing. God is calling us to sacrifice -- to fast, pray and to give to others who have need. He is calling us to be humble and prefer others needs over our own. He is calling us to take up our cross and follow Him.
Fourth, what is the model? It is Jesus: "the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ." God wants us to be catholic. He wants us to be full and complete and whole in our Christianity. We do this as we enter the life of Christ, year after year and week after week, in the liturgy of the church.
Our liturgy may be traced back to the early centuries of Christianity. This is how Jesus worshiped. It is how the Apostles worshiped. It is not innovation. And for this reason, many modern sensibilities are troubled by how we worship. But it is not new. Nor is it ancient. It is timeless.
Come and see and worship with us. Build yourself up in the Faith, or rather, allow Christ to build you up in the Faith. He did not leave us alone. He comes to us each day and has given us His Spirit to guide us. You are invited.
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The Church of the Incarnation
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