This Epiphany season, we will be exploring the question, “Why Church?” As you know, people come to church for a variety of reasons – community, obligation, or even for the coffee. But those are surface level reasons. When we really look deep into the “why” of church, it’s all about what God does in our hearts: transformation. And, that’s what people are seeking, to be transformed! So why church? Because church…
January 5: restoration
Mark 1:21-45 Jesus heals a man with an unclean spirit, Peter’s mother-in-law, and a leper. (Psalm 103:1-5)
Jesus gets up very early and goes out alone to find a quiet place to pray – his way to restore his soul. The disciples cannot find him but when they finally do, they say, “Everyone is searching for you.” In our fast-paced society, what is it that we searching for? How do we find it? Is it Jesus? Why church? Because church is restoration.
January 12: re-imagination
Mark 2:1-22 Jesus heals a paralytic and eats with tax collectors. (Psalm 103:6-14)
People are clamoring to get near Jesus. When the crowds are so great, a group cuts a hole in the roof to lower a friend through to be healed by Jesus. They used creativity to figure out how to connect with Jesus. Jesus, too, reimagines what it means to be a follower when he seeks out Levi, a tax collector. People often think of church as unchanging — “we’ve always done it that way.” That is not the tone set by Jesus! Why church? Because church encourages re-imagination!
January 19: re-creation
Mark 4:1-34 Parables of sower and mustard seed (Psalm 126)
In God’s kingdom, even when things seem to die such as a seed, God brings new life through ways we could never imagine. Both the sower and the mustard seed begin small but with God, amazing things happen. Why Church? Because church is a re-creation of boundless opportunities.
January 26: reconnection
Mark 5:1-20 Jesus heals the Gerasene demoniac (Psalm 89:1-4)
We face many demons that separate us from community. A man’s body has been ravaged, his wholeness broken by what the Bible calls demons. Jesus, then, shows up. He reconnects this man to himself and his community. Why Church? Because church is all about reconnection.
February 2: Resurrection
Mark 5:21-43 Jesus heals Jairus’ daughter and the woman with the flow of blood. (Psalm 131)
Jesus continues his healing work, but ups his game. Not only does he heal a woman who had been cast out from society for twelve years, but he even raises a girl from the dead. Why church? Because the church tells and lives the resurrection story.
February 9: reorientation
Mark 6:1-29 Jesus rejected at Nazareth; sending of the Twelve; death of John the Baptist. (Psalm 122)
The gruesome death of John the Baptist gives us a glimpse of the suffering that is to come. In response, Jesus empowers his disciples to continue and magnify his work. God’s kingdom is not coming to an end, but is just beginning. Why church? Because our callings receive reorientation.
February 16: redemption
Mark 7:1-23 What defiles one comes from within (Psalm 51:1-3, 6-7)
When Jesus is challenged because his disciples are neglecting purity laws, he points out that what really matters is what comes from the heart. Jesus turns people’s expectations on their heads showing them what the Kingdom of God really looks like. Why church? Because the work of the church is the redemption of our hearts.
February 23: revelation
Mark 8:27-9:8 Peter’s confession, passion prediction, bearing the cross, Transfiguration. (Psalm 27:1-4)
Peter proclaims Jesus as the long-ago promised Messiah. On the mountain top Peter sees Jesus alongside the titans of the faith, Moses and Elijah. The real truth about this savior is revealed. The status quo dies and we find new life on the other side. Why Church? Because church proclaims Jesus’ revelation.