“…the church finds its primary realization in the worship of the community assembled at each place. But this is never a matter of one congregation isolated in it particularity. At each local liturgical celebration where Jesus Christ is himself present the whole global fellowship of Christians finds manifestation. For where Jesus Christ is, there is the whole (‘catholic’) church.” - W. Pannenberg, Systematic Theolgy, Vol. 3, p. 103.
The Christian gathering is the church at its most characteristic self. It is the church’s most consistent expression. Going to church is what Christians do – they gather around Jesus.
But we are liable to take this too far, and fall into the opposite error of turning every assembly of Christians into church. In fact, we even reduce bible studies groups into the only true expression of the church. But the church is bigger than we think. Because e gather around Jesus, the church is bigger than our isolated gatherings. Jesus is the church, and all who are ‘in him’.
I have only skimmed over the Sydney Diocese’s ‘Theology of Christian Assembly’ that was released recently, and noted that it has many helpful ideas in it. But we need to remember that when we meet, we are bigger than just ourselves. We are part of a larger whole. As an Anglican, we express this at communion (officially if not in practice) we, with all the saints and ‘angels and archangels gathered round your throne in heaven proclaim “Holy, Holy, Holy, is the Lord God Almighty…”’ (cf. any Anglican Prayer Book). My church is bigger than just the ratty little congregation that meets on Sunday nights – it is part of a global body (in both space and time) with Jesus as the head.