Life on the apostolic edge
In many ways, we are on the “apostolic edge” these days. I mean we are moving with Jesus into new territory, something like Paul, the Apostle (the “sent one”) telling the Romans: “I make it my ambition to proclaim the good news, not where Christ has already been named, so that I do not build on someone else’s foundation.” If you are reading our blog for the first time, I’m glad we ran into each other on the edge of your virtual territory. Welcome to ours!
The apostolic edge?
I think Paul’s idea is this: wherever he goes, Jesus is already there. He is just working with Jesus to make him known. We “name” what people already experience as the presence of God. Sometimes we do it in words. Sometimes we do it just by showing up as individuals and as a community who can be seen, known, and loved. There are many edges of our territory (the place we know, the place we have come to so far) where we border a place where Jesus is not named, yet. That’s an “apostolic edge.” And there are no walls on our border!
In a day when many people are leaving the church of the past and when some vocal Christians get on the news and speed up the process of disgusted people leaving the church, new edges are being created all the time. That’s one reason Jesus generated us (and many other new churches): to stay on the apostolic edge. We’re out there.
Three ways we are on the apostolic edge.
- Jerome says he just started a cell from scratch in Roxborough. That’s what we are talking about! A cell is one of our 60 churches-in-microcosm that meet all over the region. I know several other cells are in the process of multiplying right now. They are creating new territory where people can connect; some of them are meeting in novel new places like Westville!
- The BIG example of being on the apostolic edge that we ALL have a hand in is planting our new congregation in Northwest Philly. We are only about six months in, so we are still just a baby there. (We can sit up comfortably now, but we still have to be carried around in prayer). We’re a solid little baby. (Thank you Julie and Jerome—who often feel rather new, too!). Now we are figuring out how to walk.
- We are moving into a couple of new territories within a couple of months—that’s certainly finding a new edge! The South Broad congregation is moving farther south. North Broad is moving one block south. Both new buildings are a lot better. Both should ultimately be less expensive than what we pay now for more space. Just a little move opens up new edges: the heart of South Philly and the heart of Temple U. Who knows how the moves will stir up our imaginations in further ways!
We are the image of Jesus in motion, just like Jesus is in us motivating us. It is a wonderful love relationship that moves us to get out on the apostolic edge and love someplace further.