Jesus and the Church and Jesus...yes, yes, amen!!! The HS calls ("gathers and enlightens") the church to be the body of the risen Christ for the world and to the world and the church's proclamation and sacraments testify to that fact! A while ago I quoted from one of the church's new songs: "I, the Lord of font and cup, covenant to lift you up; Splash the water, break the bread, pour out your lives..." The Spirit calls and gathers us into the covenant community (commonality) of the church; through the authority of the Church the Spirit offers the sacraments; within the Christian assembly we baptize and are baptized into Jesus Christ's death and resurrection and into Christ himself, literally taking his name upon us; baptism is a mighty act that God performs within the worshiping community and baptism is lived with that covenanted community and in the world. We recognize the stranger among us as the Christ at the same time we experience the broken bread of heaven and poured-out cup of salvation that is the Eucharist.
As Christians whose heritage not only is that long-ago day of Pentecost Acts 2 speaks about but as Christians who especially claim the heritage of the 16th-century reformers we acknowledge we cannot be fully "Christian" in solitude, as important as those times and places away from the demanding and sometimes insistent crowds are to all of us.
But I confess there have been times I've loved the Church more than I've loved Jesus, and I need to remember the Church points us to Jesus. I need to think and write a lot more about this—thanks for the nudge!