The coming of Christ is the light of God to the world, the clearest revelation of who God is, who we are, what we’re doing here. This is the light we are to carry into our lives. But sometimes life makes our eyes go dim and we neglect our light under the bushels of busyness and embarrassment. What is called light by God sometimes looks like darkness and superstition to others. Epiphany is a time to gather around the light and be renewed in our desire to carry it into the world. This year we will be looking at what it means for God to “dwell in unapproachable light”, how that light is reflected in creation, how it shines in all human hearts, the illumination of Holy Scripture and the paradoxical light which often appears to us as darkness. And all of this can be seen in one stunning moment at the transfiguration of Jesus, the true light of God.
“Gospel” simply means “good news” and is the pronouncement concerning the person and work of Jesus Christ. The good news is about Jesus: That he was God and became a man, lived the life most abundant life with God and others without sin. Jesus died the death we should have died, as our substitute. Jesus rose from the dead, conquering sin and its effects. He thereby proved that he was an acceptable sacrifice upholding God’s justice, defeating sin & death for all those who would believe. The fruition of this good news is in God making all things new-complete restoration, peace, joy, and justice forever.
“Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel I preached to you, which you received, in which you stand, and by which you are being saved, if you hold fast to the word I preached to you unless you believed in vain. For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures . . .” 1 Corinthians 15:1-4
Jesus Christ lived in the East. Eastern peoples have always had a better grasp of what it means to live communally. Every metaphor in the Scriptures which describes our spiritual progress is communal and not individualistic. Therefore, followers of Jesus can never reduce our experience to a Western, isolated spiritual journey. We discovered that being united to God is to be subsequently united to his new family in Christ. The gospel has created a new people that live as a family of missionaries servants who make disciples that make disciples through the flow of everyday life. In the gospel, we now have the resource to live together, forgive one another, and seek the good of the city in community. Our shared life together happens in a variety of spaces and times and reveals things about God that we could never discover in isolation. Life on life. Life in community. Life on mission.
We believe that all of creation exists to commune with God, but much has been fragmented through sin. But God, the consummate initiator, has reconciled us through Christ and has given us a ministry of reconciliation (2 Cor 5:18). Gospel communities live out the mission of God together by sharing the gospel with others and serving the needs of our city together. Each gospel community is regularly and relationally stepping into their mission to care for those in need and to make disciples. Practically this looks like ordinary people, living ordinary lives together because of the gospel for the good of the city.
What impact might our lives have on the city and the world? This is what we envision:
Sunday Gatherings are an essential piece of learning to follow Jesus with others. It is the time where we, as a church family, gather around Jesus and his remarkable grace, remembering who God is and what he has done through singing songs, praying, studying the Bible, and taking communion. We also welcome those who are seeking, skeptical, or curious. It is our sincere desire to thoughtfully explore your questions about God and Christianity with you. If you’re visiting for the first time, you can expect to meet a warm, casual community that cares about one another and the needs of our city. We’d love to meet you.
Our gatherings start at 10 am, so you’ll want to arrive around 9:50 to meet people and/or check kids into Crackers&Juice (our kids ministry for infants through elementary). Grab some coffee or tea and meet someone or just head right into the sanctuary. If you have any questions ahead of time, feel free to shoot us an email. We’d love to have you join us! Our worship gatherings happen every Sunday at 10am at 2219 SE 68th Ave., Portland, OR. You can expect a welcoming environment whether you are familiar with Christianity or just beginning to explore the Christian faith. You will be invited to sing along and interact with the teaching, but feel free to just come and observe.