|Published by Michael Topple on Tue, 14 Jul 2020 09:53|
|Church Without Walls|
Tuesday 14 July
‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.’ (Rom 8:1)
We have moved! We now live in Stanway, in a new house, on a new build, in the New Rectory, with freshly painted white walls (and no shelves or cupboards for storage!)
This is exciting. We are finally in the parish which I’m serving and licensed to! What a joy to be amongst the people who I have already spent time praying for, getting to know and investing in. It’s a challenge because everywhere I go I see things which could be done and people who I’d love to spend time with and get to know, and potential to build the kingdom of God. Where should I begin? What should I do first?
Those questions have been very much everyday questions with regard to sorting out our house: so many boxes to unpack, so much rubbish to clear, so many cupboards and shelves to build, fill and organise. We haven’t even begun with hanging pictures or blinds/curtains. And as for the garden... we keep on having to tell ourselves that moving in is one thing, but settling and making our home here and establishing relationships and - lest I forget - three now worshipping communities, is a process and takes time.
Sorting our the rubbish of our lives also takes time. Every time we come to God in worship, we confess our sins, we ask for and receive his forgiveness, renewing and cleansing. We pray for wisdom to live lives which reflect his glory, his love and his purpose. And everyday he is at work in the areas of our lives, our community and our world which we bring to him in prayer.
Repentance, forgiveness, renewal and restoration take time, but what pure joy it is to know that we need not carry around the rubbish of our lives or labour under the yoke of slavery and death: ‘There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus. For the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has set you free from the law of sin and of death.’
Jesus comes to us, so we might come to God.We remember that the ministry of Jesus was very much about outsiders and insiders. Jesus befriended the outsiders; the insiders, he turned to the outward. (Martyn Percy)
As we come out of lockdown and begin to work out new ways living, including worship in our freshly cleaned and re-ordered church building, may we remember that God is in all places: ourselves, our homes, our church building, our community and our world. Fresh beginnings are often hard work and take some adjusting to, but fresh beginnings bring new opportunities.
Blessed are you, Sovereign God, creator of all,
to you be glory and praise for ever.
You founded the earth in the beginning
and the heavens are the work of your hands.
In the fullness of time you made us in your image,
and in these last days you have spoken to us
in your Son Jesus Christ, the Word made flesh.
As we rejoice in the gift of your presence among us
let the light of your love always shine in our hearts,
your Spirit ever renew our lives
and your praises ever be on our lips.
Blessed be God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit.
Blessed be God for ever.