"The first lesson: no church without the reign of God. The church lives from something and toward something that is greater than the church itself. When the windows facing toward the reign of God get closed, darkness descends upon the churches and the air becomes heavy. When the windows facing toward the reign of God are opened, the life-giving breath and light of God give the churches fresh hope. The second lesson: no reign of God without the church. Just as the life of the churches depends on the reign of God, so also does the vitality of the hope for the reign of God depend on the communities of faith. We come to recognize the fresh breath of God and the light of God that renew the creation only because there are communities called churches—communities that keep alive the memory of the crucified Messiah and the hope for the Coming One. Without communities born and sustained by the Spirit, the hope for the reign of God would die out."
Miroslav Volf, After Our Likeness: The Church as the Image of the Trinity (Grand Rapids, MI; Cambridge, U.K.: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 1998), x.