by J. Randal Matheny, editor
The decision was unanimous. We would vacate the rented building (right) which for the last five years had served as our place to meet, study and fellowship.
The building is spacious and of fairly easy access. But it came at a price. Both financial and spiritual.
So off we go again in search of a meeting place.
We’re used to it. The church in Sao Jose dos Campos started in a hotel conference room, moved to a rented third-floor space, then went, after it outgrew that, to hotels again, three of them, before finally resting for the last five years in a two-story rented building.
So we have a keen sense of what it means to be “foreigners and exiles” (1 Peter 2:11) who live in the spiritual Diaspora (1:1; James 1:1).
Peter and James take the word Diaspora from the Jewish scattering among the Gentiles (John 7:35) and apply it to Christians.
To the Jews, the land of Israel was home. No matter how far the people had been flung through commerce or conquest.
Christians belong to the higher, truly free Jerusalem (Galatians 4:26), because their citizenship is in heaven (Philippians 3:20).
So it was logical to borrow the term Diaspora, along with much of the language referring to the people of God, and apply it to Christians.
I’m not saying it’s wrong to have a church building. That’s not my point. Buildings are an issue of expedient propriety.
I am saying that our congregation’s physical mobility parallels our spiritual status as movers-on and travelers in this world.
It’s a good reminder for us.
We feel keenly what it means to be foreigners and exiles.