The Christian community is a community of people who remind each other who they truly are – the beloved of God. – Henri Nouwen 
Agapao, “the beloved,” is a strong term.
Is this how we think of church?
Sometimes churches in general may talk one way, but walk another way. Churches sometimes talk about love but operate like businesses.
We don’t always measure success by how many people we’re discipling . . .
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of the Messiah
We tend to think of the Church’s success in business-like language. Good businesses have mission statements, values, strategies, etc.
While we’re using business models, God is thinking in terms of intimacy.
What does it mean to be known as The Beloved of God?
How can we embody God’s call to draw the nations into intimacy?
If we really want to understand the mission of the Church, one of the crucial elements we cannot dismiss is Christ’s desire to reach everyone. From Israel to all the nations, anyone can accept God’s call to be part of the Church, the “Beloved” of the Messiah.
So Hosea is clear
and I will sow him for myself in the land.
And I will have pity on Lo-ruhamah, [not pitied] and I will say to Lo-ammi, [not my people] “You are my people”;
and he shall say, “You are my God.”
Hosea 2.23, NRSV
Paul is clear
As indeed he says in Hosea,
“Those who were not my people I will call ‘my people,’
and her who was not beloved I will call ‘beloved.’”
God is clear
He’s calling everyone to intimacy. I admit, this idea may sound simple, even silly to you, “Christianity 101.”
If it’s such a simple concept, then why is it so difficult to practice at times?
I really don’t believe that churches break this fellowship rule on purpose. Tom Sine writes,
In spite of all the talk about Christ’s Lordship, everyone knows that the expectations of modern culture comes first. Everyone knows that getting ahead in the job comes first. Getting ahead in the suburbs comes first. Getting the kids off to their activities comes first. And we tend to make decisions in these areas pretty much like everyone else does, based on our income, our professions, and our social status.
We have to rearrange our priorities to make decisions God’s way.
One decision we can make is to offer belonging and a place in The Beloved.
Long Lake Friends Church
JC Ingle, Inc.
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