As his body, the church is Christ’s presence in the world. As such, she does the will of her head and draws upon his power as she works in the world for his sake. As his body, she is the one new humanity, created and growing into the image of Christ, demonstrating God’s wisdom to the powers (Eph 3:10).
Through the ordinary lives of her members, the church engages in a dynamic relationship of mutual influence with the world. The relationship itself is neutral–even positive. Its contents and intentions are not neutral, for these can be for good or ill. We, as individuals and as community, decide which it will be.
Ordinary life is also, I contend, the primary location of the church’s partnership with Christ. In the outworking of truth and action in the dailies of community life, the church and the members that constitute her, work with Christ through his Spirit calling all who will listen to trust Christ and to encouraging God’s good wherever possible.
Gathering and Dispersing
The gathering and dispersing of the church are locations for her growing into and reflecting the image of Christ. As she gathers in worship, individuals and congregations are increasingly set apart for God’s purposes, each distinct person and congregation, developing a custom-made reflection of Christ. As she disperses in the world, the cognitive, affective, and volitional knowledge gained in the gathering transforms into demonstrations of God’s wisdom and power in the ordinary interactions of service and work in the world.