“…for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills all in all.”
These words of Paul from the first chapter of Ephesians (our first Scripture lesson this morning) contain perhaps my favorite description of the church: the fullness of the one who fills all in all.
The church as the fullness of Christ.
The embodiment of Christ’s expansive love, compassion, and hope for the world.
A people committed to making room, or perhaps trusting that in Christ there’s always plenty of room.
A people who find joy and wonder in exploring the depths and mysteries of creation, not being scared by what we do not know or understand but anticipating that the One who raised Jesus from the dead always has more blessings in store.
A people who see new ways to speak of God as new ways to encounter and know God and our neighbor.
A community that lives and breathes and organizes itself from a position of abundance when every other outside voice would assume scarcity.
Isn’t this what church is when we’re at our best: a people who, in all that we do, hope to be a real and visible sign of the fullness of Christ?
Another important part of being a people of fullness is recognizing the limitless gifts within the community. In preparing for my sabbatical I have been reminded once again of just how much this is true. These opportunities of generous time away for staff are only possible because the church understands that it has people and gifts and resources and time enough to sustain its mission in the meantime.
I am so grateful for all of you who have encouraged me to take this time away and assured me in so many different ways that things will be “okay.” In fact, better than “okay.” Even through these summer months when we slow down our programming as folks travel and come and go, the church will continue to be a sign Christ’s fullness, in our worship, our programs, our prayers, our offerings, and our very witness.
It’s for this reason that I leave with such peace of mind, but more importantly, why I’m so grateful to be your pastor in the first place.