The word church has been tossed around and given different meanings over the generations. When hearing the word “church,” some think of:
* The building where they worship.
* The denomination the community affiliates with (Lutheran, Methodist, Baptist, Presbyterian, etc.)
* Membership. That is, being on the roll as an active participant and one who worships and gives regularly.
* The universal church – that is, all believers across the world.
Succinctly stated, Lutherans hold that “church” is: “the assembly of all believers and saints.” (Saints being believers who have died.)
Remember, if you are not sure what you believe, you are in good company. The 12 disciples had their moments – James and John thought drinking the same cup as Jesus would be easy, but Jesus was talking about his suffering. In a pinch, Peter denied knowing Jesus. Thomas had to see to believe. When Jesus was praying in the garden before his crucifixion, his disciples fell asleep, and then ran in fear. In the Gospel according to Mark, the 12 never really “got” who Jesus was.
So – you are the church! Whomever you are, whatever your background and whether or not you ever become a member somewhere, you are the church! We gather each week.