In prominent cities around the world, museums exist to tell stories of the past. Artifacts, plaques, and presentations combine to instruct and to inspire. Whether the subject matter of the museum is art, history, or science, one thing each museum has in common is that they are all D-E-A-D. The items in the halls of these buildings may inspire those in the present to make a better future, but the very nature of a museum is a chronicling of the past.
As you probably know, this month we are celebrating Wildwood’s 50th anniversary as a church. As a part of any anniversary, you spend some portion of time looking backward. This gives us a chance to remember God’s work in the past to inspire us for our present and our future. However, there is something significant we cannot forget . . .
The church is not a museum.
Mistakenly, translators of our English Bibles failed to properly translate Matthew 16:18b into accurate English. In Matthew 16:18b, Jesus says, “I will build my church, and the gates of hell will not prevail against it.” In this verse, the Greek word “Ekklesia” is translated “church” by modern English Bible translators. The word “church” is actually a word with German roots that means “the Lord’s House” . . . and could even be translated the “Lord’s Temple.” The only problem is, Jesus did not speak German when He spoke the words of Matthew 16! The Greek behind that statement is better translated into English as “congregation” or “assembly of people.” For a variety of reasons (most of them political) the first translators of the English Bible (save William Tyndale who was killed for his translation!) called it a “church” and that translation has been the tradition ever since.
Why do I give that piece of history here? I give it because if the church is a PLACE . . . a BUILDING . . . it could be a museum – a place to simply look back and remember. However, the Ekklesia Jesus is building is a gathering of people. A Body. And it is ALIVE!
Remembering this, we know the church does not just have a past, it has a present and a future! This Sunday at Wildwood, we will be wrapping up the celebration of our 50th anniversary by looking ahead to some exciting opportunities we have as a church to invite the church, the community, the nations, and the next generation to follow Jesus together with us to the glory of God. Make plans to be at Wildwood this Sunday, September 30, 2018, at 9:45 or 11:00 as we worship together. O Church arise!