"Is Christ here with us in the world?"
This is the question that so many people are asking. Those who are in the church, who are left wanting, ask this question. When the secular world sees the scandals of unjust religious leaders, they ask this question. When people experience the death and decay of our broken and sinful world, they ask this question. "Is Christ here with us in the world?"
I feel that our answer should be yes. Through the church, I believe that people ought to experience the very presence of Christ. In David Fitch's Faithful Presence, Fitch proposes that the church ought to be on mission by living "incarnationally." For a church to exist "incarnationally," it is to be in the midst of a community, making the presence of Christ known in tangible ways. In a sense, the church is an extension of the incarnation.
If the church is an extension of the incarnation, what should the Church effect? What should the world experience when it comes in contact with the church?
If we look at the ministry of Jesus, we can say that the Church should cause individuals to experience:
Some sacramental traditions will be more apt to accept this view of the Church. Those who perceive the Eucharist as the real pressence of Christ will be more likely to accept this "incarnational" view, due to the fact that they are used to and comfortable with the concept of Christ being here with us today.
As the Church, let us do "incarnational mission," drawing the world into a real encounter with the presence of God. Let us show the world that the gospel is not a matter of mental ascent, but a participation with the Grace of God.