Today’s Bible readings can be found here: Isaiah 38:9-21 and Ephesians 3:1-10.

Ephesians 3:10 – His intent was that now, through the church, the manifold wisdom of God should be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly realms, according to his eternal purpose that he accomplished in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Some people these days question whether or not churches should exist. Rather than bring people together for worship, missions, or programs, would Christianity not be better served by individuals and small groups going out into the community at large, doing good deeds and showing compassion to those who are unloved, unwanted, and uncared for? After all, didn’t Jesus Himself go from place to place, offering His compassion and healing those who needed His help? Surely, it is argued, local congregations should do the same.

So why were churches established in the first place, and what purpose do they serve now?

I like what the Apostle Paul has to write about church, especially in this passage from Ephesians 3. He describes church as being the established vehicle through which the wisdom of God is made known. Churches are receptacles, gathering places, or domains where the rich teaching, history, and experiences of our knowledge of God are faithfully kept. They become storehouses for people who are hungry for God’s Word; they become wells where folks can quench their spiritual thirst with Christ’s teaching. In other words, churches equip people with faith to help them in their daily lives, current events, and personal circumstances.

We are all seeking meaning for our lives, which comes to us through our relationship with God. His knowledge shows us the best ways and paths for our lives. Churches can help us find that wisdom by providing teaching and encouragement, studies and support, opportunities and missions which will bolster our faith and give us a worthwhile purpose throughout our days on Earth.

Questions for personal reflection

What wisdom and guidance has God given to me through the church? How have I shared those gifts with others in my life?

Prayer: Lord Jesus, we sometimes forget that the Church is Your Bride, so You are always supporting, caring, and loving toward it. Bless our churches with Your Holy Spirit and grant them opportunities to share God’s wisdom in positive, cheerful, and effective ways. In Your Holy Name, we pray. Amen.

Today’s image is another of John’s Pentecost drawings for 2016. If you would like to view a larger version, please click this link: Pentecost