The Church as Jesus’ Resurrected Body

“As you come to him, the living Stone—rejected by humans but chosen by God and precious to him—you also, like living stones, are being built into a spiritual house to be a holy priesthood, offering spiritual sacrifices acceptable to God through Jesus Christ.” (1 Peter 2:4-5, NRSV)

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The apostle Paul was especially fond of referring to the church as the body of Christ. In his Corinthian letters, he used this reference at least 18 times as a powerful and poetic metaphor. The metaphor used in 1 Peter is even more appealing to me than Paul’s metaphor. Jesus was the living stone upon which God intended to build his temple (God’s dwelling place). We rejected him and even put him to death on a cross. Ever a graceful Father, God raised Jesus back to life. The resurrection of Jesus had a cascading effect whereby God’s grace was made available to those who believe. By receiving God’s grace, we become “like living stones,” and are being crafted into a container (the church) that embodies the resurrected Jesus. As the resurrected body of Jesus, we are to continue the work that Jesus began when he walked the earth.

Most of us fail to internalize the reality that we are to embody Jesus in everything we do and to do so in every moment of our lives. We tend to “do” church instead of “being” the church. We see church as something for which we show up, do the usual routine, and then return to the life we live outside the church. The danger is that we compartmentalize our lives so that our life of service is relegated to serving in the church or on the occasional mission trip. We fail to see how whatever our vocation (literally, our calling), we are called to embody the life and legacy of Jesus Christ. Whatever we do, we are to carry Jesus into the world. This is what it means for the church to be the resurrected body of Jesus.

Please note: If you haven’t responded to the survey in the email link you received from the church, please complete the survey as soon as possible. The link will go inactive on May 12th, and we would love to hear from you and from each member of your family from youth age on up. Thanks for your attention to this important matter.

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Rev. Dale Cohen
Senior Pastor of Canterbury United Methodist Church

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