To the Body at Aletheia.
In times past, the church has forgotten who it is. It has often mistaken function for identity and forsaken the privilege of open worship for the convenience of choice of worship. But in times such as this where the trials of the day shape tomorrow’s every day, the church has always arisen from its slumber and stupor to proclaim its allegiance to our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.
In him, we find our identity: his body and his bride. This body, woven together not by proximity but by proclamation, has grown its sinews from the interwoven histories and narratives of all races. Christ has called from all intersections and creeds those who sought truth. He calls us to turn from our identities in passing and trivial descriptions and instead to be true to his transcendent definitions. This is the truth: we are his body. Beyond space and time, and in his blood, we are with him and he is with us.
This is something that thinkers cannot comprehend, that thieves cannot steal and kings cannot give. It is a gift of God and it stands for the truth of our being, despite the lands we occupy or the rules that we live under. No matter separated or together, we are always with each other and we are always with Jesus Christ, our Lord.
His body is not defined by the buildings that we occupy or the times we meet, it is only described by such things, and such things are merely a shoddy description of a future where there will be no questions as to our status, even when our station is apart. You are not the building and you are not merely the people, but you are the visible image of the person of Christ. Just as his strength formed the cosmos eons before his hands were nailed to that creation, so his hands reach out into the world, carrying out his ministry of reconciliation and bringing the gift of his good news. Animated by his Holy Spirit, you are his hands. Where you work, it is Christ who is working. Wherever you are, there are his hands and his body.
Reject with absolute certainty the message that lulls you to sleep again in the promise that your work is to merely wait upon the security of a chorus. Do you not know that wherever you are in Jesus, there resides a symphony of the masses of martyrs who came before you? Many of these men and women did not live in the conveniences with which we take for granted but instead agonized with how to serve God from moment to moment.
Though they were cut off from the abundances of resources, they didn’t hold to their stores but instead to the fact that God was with them, whether flood or famine. They were not alone when separate, for it was their sacred call to be holy and to be holy is to be set apart. They didn’t build an ivory tower from which to gain God’s and men’s attention but they went out confidently into an uncertain future, knowing that wherever they were—God was there.
And wherever you are, God is with you. Whether hand-in-hand or prayer-in-prayer, you are with the legions of all who have, do, and will believe in the Lord Jesus Christ.
Whatever may come, be who you are: one body of the transcendent God who chose you for his purpose. If you can be together, celebrate as brothers reunited after war. But if you cannot, if this world keeps you apart, take heart because you are not alone. Run with abandon wherever you may find yourself. On whatever side of the bars you may find yourself, live free to be God’s hands. Do not waste your station on the foolish notion that reconciliation is an earthly reality. Instead go out into whatever land you are in, knowing that you will see your brothers and sisters again. In Christ, your identity is not so easily broken by barriers and blockades. The enemy doesn’t know that we do not fall apart when detached, but we expand and multiply to fill the earth with God’s gospel message. During this time we celebrate how his body, broken for those he loved, brought us all together in him. Let us not forget how our body, broken for him, will do the same for those we love.
Take every opportunity to be his body no matter where you are placed. Remember to count all things as an opportunity to show yourself worthy to serve under the banner of Christ. May all who look upon it, whether near or far, be as one, now and in the end.
Amen. Stay vigilant.
The Elders of ABF
*This letter was written as a group correspondence and penned by Josh McGary with the agreement of the Elders at Aletheia Bible Fellowship.