The beginning of 2012 also brought the beginning of a new series at North Ridge, simply named Bold. Returning to the introductory message of North Ridge, understanding the picture the Bible paints of ‘church’, an image misconstrued and corrupted by time. In the original language, ekklesia is the word translated at ‘church’ in modern English translations of the Bible. Ekklesia is literally translated as a gathering, assembly, or a congregation. ‘Church’ is a gathering of people with the purpose of worship of God and sharing of Christ’s love, immersing themselves in their surrounding world and inspiring positive change. Our definition of the word ‘church’ has devolved into a place we go, a place of exile from a dark world. Cold brick and mortar to separate us from the world rather than warm love and devotion that fills the cracks in its surrounding environment.
The German work ‘kirche’ can be defined as ‘The Lord’s house’ and is where our word ‘church’ originated. This translation marks a step in the devolution of our view of church from an organized movement to a compilation of building materials. Step one toward returning the church to the level of social influence it once owned is reclaiming the word we use to define our assembly. If we are going to follow the organized, boat rocking, culture-changing movement example set by first-century Christians, we must operate with the same courage they did, flooding our communities and impacting lives.
This week’s image begins with the word ‘kirche’ on the top of the page. The letters K-I-R-C-H line the top with the E below. These letters are very rigid, separated from each other with a dark line. The text reflects the nature of its definition, structured and industrial. The last letter in ‘kirche’ is also the first letter in the original word, ‘ekklesia’. While the definitions of these words are polar opposites, they are meant to describe the same entity, an assembly of Christ’s followers. The letters in ‘ekklesia’ are very organic and connected, just as the word describes. Both of these words are part of an organized flow of a thick liquid, coating the earth as it pours out over the planet.
This is precisely how the church was designed to operate 2000 years ago, and the method of operation to which we are being called to return in order to inspire the cultural change we long to see. The Christian life is not a spectator sport, time to get off the bench is long overdue.