Scot McKnight on what real “Church-Life” is

What many churches offer is not what you want to give your One.Life for. Where did we get the idea that church is a one-hour Sunday morning service at 11:00 a.m.? Not from Jesus, not from his dream parables, and not from his vision of the Kingdom.Life.

Many today are looking for connectedness in a common life, and many are willing to devote their One.Life to that kind of society, but what they are finding at that weekly gathering is a group of folks gathered but disconnected. The tragedy is that it doesn’t have to be this way. Something can be done about it. It begins if we will return to the community vision of the earliest followers of Jesus and let Pentecost happen all over again. Notice what we see in this earliest of Christian communities, a life that can only be called Church.Life:

Life lived with others, regardless of who they are
Life shaped by the teachings of Jesus through his apostles
Life experienced by eating with one another
Life swarmed by prayer
Life carried away in awe of what God was doing
Life shared economically and materially
Life welcomed by outsiders
Life expanded
Life unleashed

I think if more people were finding these things at the local church, they’d pitch in and say, “This is what Life-to-the-Full looks like and I want some of it!” I would characterize the community life of Pentecost with these words:

Friendship
Teaching the faith
Common meals
Spirituality
Worship
Holistic care for one another
Integrity
Growth

What is the alternative?

Life lived alone and unsatisfied
Life shaped by someone or something else other than Jesus
Life experienced by dining alone
Life with thick spaces between you and God
Life noted by pursuing more and more stuff
Life shaped by: “What’s mine is mine!”
Life unnoticed by others
Life stunted by “groupishness” and cliques
Life protected

Scot McKnight, One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow, 103-104.

prayer for the first Sunday in Advent

Almighty God, give us grace to cast away the works of darkness, and put on the armor of light, now in the time of this mortal life in which your Son Jesus Christ came to visit us in great humility; that in the last day, when he shall come again in his glorious majesty to judge both the living and the dead, we may rise to the life immortal; through him who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Book of Common Prayer