Starting from this coming Sunday, we will spend the next 2 months in the book of Ephesians.
As some of you are aware, I’ve been immersed in the book of Ephesians for more than 7 years! For some reason, the Holy Spirit kept drawing me back to it—over and over again—throughout my entire pastorate at FBC. Moreover, at the outset of the pandemic, our staff team huddled around the book of Ephesians every Tuesday morning—studying, reflecting, sharing, and praying—for around four months. It has kept us grounded in Christ amid an ever-evolving world that was significantly affected by the pandemic.
For some of you who have been part of our church for over a decade, you might recollect that, in 2011, Darrell Johnson led us through a 10-month long sermon series on the book of Ephesians entitled “Navigating an Alternative Reading of Reality.” The main thrust of the series was that the book of Ephesians helps us to see reality, more clearly, with lenses that are saturated by the Good News of Jesus Christ. Jan Porcino, who at that time served as our Minister of Discipleship, produced a wonderful study guide that complemented the sermon series.
And, now ten years later, as we begin our displacement, I sense that the Holy Spirit is prompting us to renew our lenses as we look to all that is ahead—not necessarily in preparation for the new building, but for far greater things, namely the fresh and surprising ways that He will be at work in us and through us to renew our church, our city, and our world.
In the book of Ephesians, we are drawn to the breathtakingly expansive work of our Triune God—creation, redemption, the new humanity, and the renewal of all things. All of these initiated in Jesus Christ. And at the heart of that expansive work is the Church, a reconciled and reconciling community led by Jesus and empowered by the His Spirit, described in colourful images like body, building, temple, bride, marriage, and family.
The pandemic has raised many questions for us: What does it mean to be church when you can’t go to church? What does it mean to be a worshipping community when it seems like we are tenuously and strangely “connected” virtually? Can the Lord’s Supper be truly communal when we are taking the elements in the confines of our homes? How are we to care for one another when we aren’t able to meet in-person? How can we share the Good News when are “socially distanced”? In addition to these significant questions, we have now entered a long period of displacement. 24 months to be more specific.
In the face of all of these challenges, my prayer is that we will be reminded of whose we are, what we are, and how we are to live as the Church through this sermon series. My prayer is that we, as a church, will be further rooted “in Christ” though we may be physically displaced and distanced. My prayer that we, as a church, will be set afire by His Spirit to be reminded of our first love, Jesus Christ, who is on the move. He is on the move to renewal all things. Will we join Him?
I want to express my deepest gratitude to the host of guest preachers who will be part of our Ekklesia sermon series. Elita Friesen (The Way Church) will open up our series, followed by Dawn Humphreys (Strathcona Vineyard), Darrell Johnson, Jenna Fabiano (Willoughby Church), and Chris Price (The Way Church). Thank you for your friendship and your love for the Church!
Our sermon series will be coupled with our Weekly Reflections by our Pastoral Team—exploring and expounding on the implications of the preached texts. Additionally, Rebecca Thornber, our Minister of Discipleship and Community, will complement the series with a Connection Group study guide.
Jesus will build His Church. His will build His Ekklesia.
P.S. For a better understanding of the word “ekklesia”, please be sure to listen to the sermon that Darrell Johnson preached two Sundays ago. Here is the link.