In this Blog’s Post we trying to discuss the Topic: What is Ecclesia? The word means Ecclesia derived from a Greek word which means to call out. To call out the God people’s for a specific and divine purpose. What is the divine purpose of God to the ecclesia? To be witnessed of Christ, to proclaim the tiding news of liberation for human salvation and serve the community. These are fundamental duties of the ecclesia.
The role of the ecclesia is to engaged herself in the work of reconciliation with God and as well as with fellow believers. Someone rightly points out that church is not a club of the saints but a hospital of the sinner.
Ecclesia strongly believes that the process of healing the community. Healing as a holistic, sense not only physical, mentally but more than that healing of the broken relationship. Ecclesia is not merely a human association or a gathering of liked-minded individuals; rather it is a divinely created affair.
Image of Dei/image of God (What is Ecclesia)
The image of God is Biblical understanding and traditional interpretation. This is a common statement in theological circles and often we don’t take seriously it. Whenever we got a chance we make a fun person pass the comments that are the usual routine of a human being.
The same way God is one who created human beings as in his is an image. God is very much serious about it. According to the Anselm of Canterbury, he placed his argument in his book “Cur Deus homo” why God became a human being.
There is no logic that God becomes a human being but God breaks the human logic. God is like us but we are not like a God but the same way we all human being is bearing the same nature of God. As theological students, we have to know the concept of imago Dei.
God of mystery became a God of history so that God can bring the same dignity which was in the Garden of Eden. We should not underestimate each one of us because everyone deserves to be equaled respect and treat them as equals.
Even though we strongly believe that but still marginalize people are victims and suffer from the humiliation. As Francis Young points out “we are the image of God but that means we are a reflection of God in different ways and the whole image is never quite put together (except in Christ).
The disable reflects an aspect of God which the vest of us do not, and we need to discernment to respond to respect and honor their unique witness”.
Disable reflects image of God
The unique witness derives from the past experience people with disabilities; who like Christ are the marginalized and victim as a scapegoat by the society which fails to recognize their values.
Christ clearly affirmed that people with disabilities have a definite place in the kingdom of God; as related in the parable of the great dinner. Luke Chapter 10. So, people with disabilities contribute to the mere image of God. During the time of Jesus, there was no place for the disabled in worship.
Most of the time they were not allowed to inside the temple. All the disabled and poor stood out of the temple for begging outside something. That was their daily routine. During the time of Jesus people came to him with different sicknesses and diseases these people considered as pollution and sinner.
Even Jesus encountered different situations. Most of the traditional interpretations believed that the cause of disability was nothing but the result of sins. Because of that, they isolated from the presence of God.
Most of the time they totally neglected by the church or blaming them just because they were not normal or able to do any work in normal ways. In the place of acceptance, people asked them different questions sometimes made them fun.
The Image of God not only related to Adam but it also linked the second Adam that no other than Christ himself. It shows that the image of God begins with Adam and fullness with Jesus Christ.
Maybe some of us physically disability but in the presence of Christ, we are complete human beings. In Adam, we must die but in new Adam, we restored our new dignity as well as a new identity.
You can read the history of the Church of North India
Ecclesia, the practical community:
The church not only believes the word of Jesus Christ but also empowers herself to put into practice. The church in the New Testament identifies as a practical community. God wanted to reveal his purpose in the whole world but Israelites could not fulfill his plan. The plan remained unsuccessful.
That is why purposefully he shifted his plan from Old Testament to New Testament; so that he can continue full fill his desire from the church. Church is an agent of kingdom of God and within the kingdom of God no one should be values less; useless as well as small fry. Church is practical community through this community people may see the work of God.
The church is a place where the disabled may find justice and also feel differently able among others. The world’s expectation of the church is nothing but Christian pragmatics of love.
The church is the best platform that engaged herself in a different social action for development or upliftment of the margin society. The same way church has to open up with the issues of disability and work of equal partnership in a mission on the action.
As the church is always portraited as a bridge of Christ and the same way Christ is the bridegroom. Now the church has to ask the question. What Christ has done for his bride? What does he expect from the church?
Whatever you did for me one of the least brothers and sisters of mine, you did for me. You did for me. The attitude of the church has to transform within her Mathew: 25:40.
The Church is the body of Christ:
The church is a body of Christ and Christ is head of the body. The entire member has equal importance. Some are strong, some are weak but all carry equal values in the body. Sometimes the church fails to understand the mystery of unity.
The church does not realize the gift of pain. Disability is not a liability but a part of our family. In the same way within a body of Christ person who physically unfit and they force to seek an alternative God for them.
We must understand in this way that some of the parts are weak some are strong but all belong to one body of Christ. This is not a liability but a blessing and privilege to each other.
Blessing does not mean what we have but what we share with each other. Body of Christ gives more meaning than the image of God. Some time image of God reflects in individuality.
But when we talk about is cooperate with all members of a big family. Our Lord showed us the step the same steps we have to follow when considering our self the body of Christ, and so we should do everything that Christ’s body did when He was here on earth. Where disabled people are concerned we should touch, embrace, and love them as He did.
Body of Christ
Even after His ascension, Jesus gives us an astounding but clear example of physical love in action. In Revelation chapter one the risen and ascended Lord appeared to John, His closest earthly friend.
John saw him clothed with a long robe and with a golden sash around his chest. The hairs of his head were white, like white wool, like snow.
His eyes were like a flame of fire, his feet were like burnished bronze, refined in a furnace, and his voice was like the roar of many glasses of water. In his right hand, he held seven stars, from his mouth came a sharp two-edged sword, and his face was like the sun shining in full strength.
So, awesome was the sight that John fell at his feet as though dead. And then Jesus did something truly remarkable.
Ecclesiology (What is Ecclesia)
The reconstruct definition of Ecclesia; As a theologian or minister of the congregation, we have to critically think about these issues and address publically in a church.
Our understanding of Eccesliogy should not limit within a paper but it has to go beyond it. Which one is a good statement for the disability? I will pray for you or may I help you? Revise the liturgy where disable person finds their place in presence of God. Re-write the liturgy from inclusiveness to exclusiveness.
We must invite them and acknowledge the importance of their presence us our worship. Easy to judge the people; the same way very difficult to love. Jesus says “love your neighbor as yourself”.
The kingdom of God concept’s within a church and how to disable read and understand the meaning of the kingdom of God. In the kingdom of God blind able to see and the lame able to walk. How we would interpret the text in the context of disabled a person.
Most time the interpretation of a text-based on the evangelical view which pointing toward the spiritual realm but it clearly shows we are doing injustice to the text but also to the disabled person. Christ cantered Eccesliogy always believes that “God suffers” with his people.
Throughout the history of Jewish people, God was always part of the people who suffered. Jesus fully kept himself with the people who suffered from different things; politically, socially, religiously, and economically.
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We are trying to cover up all the aspects of Eccesliogy and her responsibility within the world. Every member of the church has its own unique place in a house of God as well as in the eyes of God.
We should not bypass the reality and suffering of the people in a church. As a church the exclusive community we have to envision a church whose physical space should accessible in our worship place.
We have to be sensitive in our language which we use in the service and must be avoided inclusive language which claims that disability is caused by or is a sign of sin. As a body of Christ,
we are called to reshape the congregation practice; so that at every point in the life of individuals as infants; small children young adults who are the people with disabilities; regarded as legitimate and gifted members of the body of Christ.