I’ve just had a cuppa soup -one of those ‘idiot proof’ things where all you have to do is add hot water everything is pre-done, pre-measured, pre-arranged and so that exactly the same product is reproduced everytime, (more or less) exactly the same!
Yet the Ascension and Pentecost we discover that God isn’t a ‘cuppa-soup’ kind of God, he didn’t leave his Church perfectly in a way that people couldn’t mess it up. He left it like lego bricks, the input and investment for his people (with his help) to build together something that reflected him to his world.
It was an enormous risk, he placed incredible trust in his very fallible disciples, and yet the beauty of the Church is that who she is is bigger than the constraints of our culture, and we see wonderful authentic Christian Communities that are organic and indigenous but still wonderfully and fully Christian.
Jesus didn’t leave a “how to guide” a “Church planting for dummies” with a ‘how too for dealing with those complex situations raised when Hebraic and Grecian widows fall out (for example).
Church and theology in the Christian tradition has a freedom that I don’t see in other faith traditions.
It was meant to be messy, when we don’t feel like we have a handle on it, peoples lives are complex and difficult, your trying your best to work out what it means to be “in the world but not of the world”, we realise we are following in the footsteps of the early Church, when we are wrestling with what being an authentic missional disciple making community in our context looks like and we just get a handle on it, know you are in good company with the authors of the new testament. Yet when our Church is neat and tidy, when we have everything sorted and have managed a ‘cookie cutter uniformity’ of cloned sortedness then we have probably messed up somewhere along the line, as Jesus never intended his Church to be that instant cuppa soup type movement. Jesus can’t be boxed up and marked sorted, so I guess the Church that reflects his name, and the ministry of his spirit on earth will have that same unpredictability.
As human beings we like things to be safe, controlled and familiar, we like the formulaic nature of a cuppa soup, and yet following the ascension and pentecost we discover that Jesus left us with lego-bricks, following the Spirit who blows where he will.
So, lets embrace the wonder of the lego, rather than the certainty of cuppa soups, and lets enjoy the creatvity the ride ensures, and as we work it out together with one another and God, I think this brings more joy to the heart of the Father than watching his children drinking a cuppa soup!