The Foundation of the Church

The Apostle Paul writes in Colossians 2 that just as we have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so we are to walk in Christ, rooted and built up in him. The images here are from agriculture and construction. And they both have to do with the sufficiency of Christ not only to save us, but also to finish the work he begins in us so that we are made fit to live forever in his kingdom.

The roots of a plant draw the essential nutrients that supply the rest of the plant so that it will bear fruit. Just so our lives must be rooted in Christ. It is from His Word and the Holy Spirit that He sends us from the Father that spiritual nutrition is provided for our lives in Him. We receive these nutrients when we listen to God’s Word being preached and taught. We receive them when, having confessed our sins, we hear and believe the absolution, that is, forgiveness from Christ. And we receive these nutrients when we regularly commune with Christ’s body and blood given with bread and wine in Holy Communion.

The building that is built on a firm foundation is a structure that will stand and endure. As Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount, a house built on sand will be swept away when the storms of rising water and winds beat against the house. At the same time, a house built upon a rock will stand firm when the water and winds assail it. And as you well know, eventually storms will come!

Paul writes in his Ephesian correspondence that the edifice of the church is built upon the foundation of the Prophets and Apostles, with Christ Jesus being the cornerstone (cf. Eph 2:20). In other words, God’s Word – the word of our Lord Jesus Christ – is the foundation upon which the Church will endure the passing of this present, tumultuous, stormy age.

We walk in Christ by being rooted and built upon Christ!

Since You Asked…

What is meant by the term “liturgy”?

(from the Greek, “work of the people” or “public service”): more than a set form of service or one particular service, the liturgy is the whole body of texts and music used for the worship of God. The Lutheran Book of Worship is the liturgy of many Lutheran churches in North America.  (from “Manual on the Liturgy” companion to the LBW, from Augsburg Pub.)

Our Lutheran liturgy involves the participation of all who are gathered: clergy, worship assistants, and laity. Worship is not a spectator sport. We have been gathered by God to receive from Him. And so in reverence, we give thanks by offering praise and thanksgiving to our Triune God: Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Liturgical worship helps us all share in this.