A Place Of Belonging
This Sunday we begin in earnest our focus on what it means to be a church filled with love, acceptance, and forgiveness. We ‘re seeking to be a place of belonging; being brought in to the family of God as all we do is centered in actions and attitudes that accurately reflect the love and acceptance of Jesus. It sounds so easy. It’s not. It wasn’t for Jesus and it isn’t for us.
The Old Testament spends a great deal of time talking about the chosen people; of the rules for that gathered community, the consequences when laws are broken, and the stories of a God who seemed distant, illusive and judgmental. Then came Jesus, the first in human history to be fully filled with God’s Spirit; a spirit of love and transformation. The God described by Jesus was not illusive but as close as our breath. The God of Jesus sought to accept anyone and everyone. This God sought to bring beauty, love, healing and hope. Those who were confronted were those who sought to bring hopelessness and oppression, abuse and rejection. Jesus confronted those, but others he loved, healed, touched, fed and then expanded the whole idea of community. He included friends and enemies, the poor and the sick, the stranger and friend.
As we begin this journey together, seeking to do the same, we need to understand that it took Jesus three years to make the needed changes. It may take us the same amount of time. It begins today. This Sunday I’ll spend some time talking about my own family, the stands taken by my parents and even my siblings. I’ll talk about the places of acceptance and the places of rejection. I’ll talk about the way the culture of our family changed. I’ll talk a bit about my own experiences in the church. To prepare please read Ephesians 4:1 – 6.