”How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity.” Psalm 133
Here we are a week and some days after the resurrection. We have celebrated, and it was good to be in each other’s presence in worship together. I find myself asking this question, is that all? My response is no; there is so much more to unpack. As followers, we know that the resurrection of Christ brings with it an entirely new light by which to look at life. The light of resurrection shines on every aspect of life. Just as Jesus’ birth launches us into creation and Jesus’ death launches us into history, Jesus’ resurrection compels us into living as beloved community – the community of the resurrection.
We do a disservice to the gospel witness in the world if we only see our faith as the ‘spiritual’ side of our lives lived with God. We diminish the power of God to heal and bring others to wholeness if we don’t live into resurrection practices. The crucifixion, resurrection, and ascension of Christ changed everything, even the mundane activities of daily life. The resurrection of Jesus requires that we rethink our possessions, security, money, and relationships.
The resurrection initiated a dimension of the reign of God in which the Christian community was invited to participate in the liberating work of the gospel for the sake of the world. It is the action of God in Jesus through the Holy Spirit working through a new expression of community that makes real a loving community amid an often-loveless world.
Being about the work of changing lives and then changing the world is the purpose of the church. To get back to the primary purpose of participating in God’s reign and changing lives, we must resolve to be formed and shaped into a new community of people who will share life in ways that honor the sacrifice of Christ. That means our practices and ways of being must not mirror the world’s way. In practical terms, it means that when we engage, even when we disagree on issues at our Council meetings or SPRC conversations, we do not diminish the image of God in the person across from us. We do not tear down the pastor to win points or belittle a layperson who does their best to serve. It means we come alongside and bear one another burdens, and collectively we cultivate communities that show genuine love and care for each other. When we begin to live the church’s calling, we will draw all to Christ and counter the narrative that the church is no different from the world.
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