A friend of mine who is a pastor in London posted the following thought this week:
“Regularly thank God for the people around you who are the complete opposite to you or think and operate differently. What an incredible compliment they could be to you. Thank God for the richness they bring and the perspective they have. Celebrate the strength of others and honour their significance. What God has given to others is not your loss. It becomes your strength when you choose to partner with it. A community of vibrant people celebrating and releasing individuals in their strength. Not being defined by who we are not but celebrated in who we are meant to be. That’s a community that could change the world.”
It struck a chord, especially as it describes exactly the kind of Church we are wanting to see here at Christies. We have made great inroads into valuing different opinions and being willing to listen to varying perspectives but the truth is, we only know how well we are doing when something ‘rattles our cage’. It can be a silly thing, even a mannerism in another can press our buttons, let alone someone who does things totally opposite from the way we would.
The elders were chatting this week and while we can see that Christies is a loving place and room is being made for ‘the other’ we can also see there is still a certain level of disconnect with some people still feeling lonely and undervalued. The truth is that the demands of life on time and working patterns mean that we are often under pressure just to find time for ourselves or our own family let alone picking up the phone to a friend or someone we know is struggling. However for us to truly be the community that my friend described above, we all need to be open to the prompting of the Spirit which calls for a oneness that can only come through spending time together.
The following verses encapsulates all that I am trying to say probably much more succinctly – can I ask you to allow the Spirit of God to speak to you as you read it:
24 Discover creative ways to encourage others and to motivate them toward acts of compassion, doing beautiful works as expressions of love. 25 This is not the time to pull away and neglect meeting together, as some have formed the habit of doing, because we need each other! In fact, we should come together even more frequently, eager to encourage and urge each other onward as we anticipate that day dawning.
Hebrews 10: 24-25 (The Passion translation)