Thursday, October 22, 2009

The body of Christ -- expressing Jesus to the world.

Recently, I'd been desiring a deeper revelation of the body. I mean, do you truly understand the body of Christ? I know it's way more than a group of people who get together and do church. It's much more than a Christian support group. It's much deeper than a healthy corporate experience.

A couple weeks ago, I was reading Colossians 1:15-22 in the Phillips translation. It starts: Now Christ is the visible expression of the invisible God......He is both the first principle and the upholding principle of the whole scheme of creation. And now he is the head of the body which is the Church.....It was in him that the full nature of God chose to live, and through him God planned to reconcile in his own person, as it were, everything on earth and everything in Heaven by virtue of the sacrifice of the cross. In Colossians 2:9 it says that in Christ God gives a full and complete expression of himself and our own completeness is only realized in him.

So when we gaze at Christ, we gaze on the visible expression of the invisible God. Everything we want to know and experience of God is all there in Christ himself. This same Christ is the head of the body--the Church. Because of this connection, the Church is now the visible expression of Christ to the world. Indeed, when the world encounters the Church, it sees all of Jesus--his suffering, his death, his resurrection, his rule and reign. Wow! This is amazing. In these scriptures, I don't see reference to broken Church or a Church that falls short or a Church that's a hospital. No. The Church of Jesus Christ is the whole, complete expression of him here on earth!

As I read these verses and saw this enormous declaration, my heart asked, "What does it mean to be an expression of Christ?" I was reminded of Jesus words in John 6: The man who eats my body and drinks my blood shares my life and I share his." It dawned on me that we, the body, cannot fully express Christ unless we participate fully in everything that Christ has done and is doing. We must fully commune with him. We must eat him, drink him, participate in everything aspect of his personality, and hide ourselves in him. To commune is to be an expression of Christ to all of creation. When we abide him in, he is revealed to all. To say that I fully understand this would be dishonest, but I know in my deepest knower that it's true. It's a mystery that I embrace for my life and for the fruitfulness that I desire to see at work in me.

On Wednesday, while driving to staff prayer, I was worshipping and meditating on all the above, thinking on it again and simply reveling in the wonder of it. Then I saw something so beautiful. I saw the Father, Son and Holy Spirit together glorifying one another with their praises, their encouragement, and their mutual regard and deep affection for each other. And right there, in the midst of that holy Trinity, was the body of Christ in full communion with the Son, experiencing all the glory the Son was receiving and giving. With this vision, my eyes were opened to the amazing wonder of worship. My first thought was, "Oh dear, my perception of worship has been so very, very small." Then with new eyes, I caught a glimpse of the overwhelming gift of worship. Worship is an act of full participation/communion in the complete expression of Christ as he is being glorified with the Father and the Spirit. When I saw this, I could actually feel his glory filling my body and being expressed inside my car. I could sense the increase of spiritual activity in the atmosphere around me. I knew that "stuff" was happening around me even though I was "just" enjoying the Lord and his presence. It was awesome!

This brief vision in my car opened my mind to understand the great privilege of the Church to worship and glorify the Son. By doing so, we literally join in the fellowship of the Trinity and then begin to express that same glory right here on earth. It's as though we are transfigured! We step into the glory and then begin to mirror his fullness, and the world can't help but be drawn in. Supernatural activity increases and is released, and like a mighty magnetic force, all men are drawn to the Church because they are drawn to Christ! His glorious, charismatic personality is so great and so beautiful no one could possibly resist him.

Expressing Christ. This is an amazing gift given to us, sons and daughters of God. We abide, participate, eat and drink the Lamb, enjoy his life, gaze on his glory and in so doing his name and fame ring out to all the nations. Thank you Lord.