wild goose chase.3

3.a new community
Acts 2.41-47; 1 Corinthians 12.12-31, 13.4-7

What we find around us is an astonishing variety of differing communities; variously we call them clubs, schools, universities, choirs, teams, orchestras, families; even churches. Some make it hard to belong, creating barriers of knowledge, achievement, wealth, belief, even of blood relatedness. The thing is we want to belong, to be accepted on some ground or other – we’ll even go through silly rituals and agree to abusive regulations or initiations in order to find a secure place in this community or that – and then there are the fees, the demands for perfect attendance or the requirement for us to conform to this standard or that tradition. The tragedy is that in the past the church has copied, even instituted some of these prerequisites, conditions for entry, these membership standards. But in the hands of the Wild Goose we are made free, affirmed and loved just as we are – what kind of community does that create?
Community Created by God -liberated by His Son – breathing the Spirit of the Living God.
In the forming of the first church ever [Acts 2] we see the Spirit alighting upon each individually, in the context of the gathered and worshipping community of Jesus-followers – unleashing a God-filled and motivated corporate expression of His living Presence. They are on show before the whole community: learning, sharing, worshipping, praying, serving, witnessing, loving, transforming and being transformed. They drew attention to themselves for all the right reasons.   Recently this description of the church has become the model for newer churches.
Some years later, Paul gives a creative theological explanation for the unique shape of the community we call church: in his letter to the Corinthians [1 Corinthians 12] he calls it a body, the Body of Christ, emphasising connectedness, interdependence, mutual acceptance and respect – especially for a diversity of callings and giftings. There is a humbling sense that we need each other and are somehow incomplete as a believer if some parts of the body are missing or disenabled. We are each unbreakably linked to and involved with each other – each according to their own peculiar cluster of Spirit-imbued gifts and God-given personalities, passions and backgrounds.
Paul then goes on [13.4-7] to describe the character of that connectedness and interdependence; it is the astonishing self-giving love of God-alive, Spirit-given, in each of us. What we see in this passage are characteristics we see in Jesus and that enable us to find and live out our place in this organic institution, this body of Christ. The Holy Spirit was and is poured out to renew people and form them into a community of God’s extravagant love. Receiving the Holy Spirit’s life, receiving all others as valued, established and loved sacrificially by Jesus, the Lord of the church.
whatcha need to do In welcoming the work of the Spirit in your life, encourage, trust and even depend upon His visible and invisible presence in those to whom your are organically linked by the love and grace of God. We need to commit to being part of the Spirit-designed and Spirit-filled organism of God’s people; to rely on Him for life, direction and energy – to give all we have and are to that life and to invite and welcome many more into it.  The more who come the greater the variety, the more compelling the beauty and charm of what God is making in us and through us.
We also need to learn to trust our fellow-travellers to support, encourage and instruct, even challenge us in the pursuit of the life to which God has called us in Jesus.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s