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“The apostles and elders, together with the whole church, decided to choose some of their number and send them to Antioch…”
- Acts 15:22

Since the beginning of the church, the faithful have sent representatives to meet and discuss matters before the church, to offer aide and support to each other, to teach and decide matters of doctrine, and to show unity and fellowship. The church first met in one of these councils or general assemblies in Jerusalem in Paul and Peter’s day and it was both glorious and controversial. They met to discuss whether one needed to be an observant Jew in order to be a Christian. There was debate and controversy, theology and politics and afterwards the messages went to the congregations starting at Antioch for their hearing and living it out. The church continued to meet in assembly, sending representatives from local congregations, regional governing bodies, and the wider church throughout history (We still repeat creeds from the Council of Nicea for example).

Romans 11:36—“From Him and through Him and with Him
are all things, to the glory of God forever!”

Psalm 73: 25—“Whom have I in heaven but You?
Earth has nothing I desire besides You!”

“Man’s [Humankind’s] chief and highest end {goal or purpose}
is to glorify God and enjoy God forever” (Book of Confessions--
Westminster Confession [Shorter Catechism]7.001, [Longer Catechism]7.111)

Pentecost is this month. Pentecost, the coming of the Spirit, is all about mission. What is mission? Many think of that as far away work by folks to evangelize the unbeliever. Others think of charity or justice work for the poor or needy whether far away or next door. All of that is right but not complete. Mission is what the Westminster Confession called our chief goal and purpose in life to glorify God (Paul says in words or deeds in Ephesians) and to enjoy God forever (serve is the old English meaning of enjoy). The Book of Order in it’s very first paragraph makes clear that we as believers and Church members have no mission of our own, but instead have as our purpose to ”participate in God’s mission for the transformation of creation and humanity” by telling everyone of God’s grace in Christ Jesus, calling folks to the sacraments, and being about discipleship in all we do. (F-1.01) How well do we engage in God’s mission here at First Presbyterian?

Ok, before anything else, put down the newsletter and read Luke 24: 13-35. I’ll wait…Ok, good. You know that story right, the road to Emmaus. Classic Easter story. You notice that only one of the disciples is named (Cleopas in verse 18). That was a common way in the first century that writers invited their reader into the story. You are the unnamed disciple! So imagine yourself not watching the story but actually living it.

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