If you’ve come back from the United Service, you’ve probably just heard Simon Holland speaking about his vision for the Church he serves (note the language) in Bath, “to be a community of grace at the heart of the city”.
We are Christ’s ambassadors, entrusted with Christ’s ministry of reconciling the world to God. Imploring people on Christ’s behalf, be reconciled to God.
A broken world, and broken individuals need to experience the radical grace-filled love of God expressed in the love of God demonstrated most clearly and beautifully upon the cross of Calvary. Steve Brittan has said that the cross shows us the greater truth, that God himself is good news.
At the heart of the universe is a God who is not angry or vindictive, but loving us and desiring to welcome us home into relationship with him, with that same furious love as shown in Luke 15, with the parable of the running father (a better and more apt name that the prodigal son).
This is a message of radical and transforming hope, that however broken we are, however steeped in sin we have become, what ever we have done or whatever has been done to us, the grace of God and his love is greater still.
Reminded of the line from that great hymn; “the vilest offender, who truly believes, that moment from Jesus a pardon receives”.
The truth of us as Church, is we have forgotten what God, in Christ, has done for us.
We have forgotten we ourselves are forgiven sinners. We ourselves are not whole and respectable, without fault, blemish and with a cupboard or two full of skeletons.
Grace has saved us, we need to show grace to a world that won’t necessarily understand it, and probably can’t articulate it, but is none the less desperate for it.
Grace changes lives.
Grace transforms brokenness.
It’s gotta work this time tomorrow…
The truth is it is easy being a Christian on Sunday night, surrounded by other Christians, in nice family comfortable surrounding…
but the truth is that isn’t where most of us spend most of our lives, we have jobs, we have families, we have friends, Christianity if it means anything has got to work as well as it does on Sunday evening on Monday morning, otherwise, what is the point?
When we think of our lives as a pie chart our ‘church’ but can seem like a slim slither of the pie, and then ‘the rest of life takes over’, but I believe our faith was never meant to be compartmentalised into small separate sections, our Christian walk isn’t done when we can ‘tick a box’ and say we have ‘done’ our Sunday… instead, our faith is meant to be something that permeates every area and facet of our lives.
Jesus said “I stand at the door and knock if anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with him” and yet too often the invitation is only into the hall, or standing or the door step, or maybe just into the ‘best and most presentable room of the house, the sunday slither of our life, but Jesus wants to be invited in and it be ‘access all areas’, and actually the darkest and grottiest corners of our lives are actually the bits we need him in the most…
After all as Jesus himself said: “those who are well don’t need a doctor but only those who are sick… not come to call respectable people but sinners” -yet the western Church spends half its life trying to look respectable.
Simon, spoke of our Churches flinging open the doors every day of the week, welcoming people in (and they have done, they have an awesome coffee shop and lots of great things going on) but I am saying one step further.