Glorify God! Reach people! Let Jesus transform!

Posted by Fr. Tere on 01/06/2018

As we continue a new year of service to our Lord and God, especially as we begin to try to understand and live into Building with Living Stones, we look at different ways of being a welcoming, affirming, and grace-filled part of Christ’s Body, this particular expression of Church (the gathered Children of God).

If we are committed “to reach people with the transforming love of Jesus Christ,” that will begin to shape how we approach the world around us – especially that part of the world most closely found around us. The Vestry and Congregation claim together that Christ our Redeemer Anglican Church exists to glorify God and to reach those who are separated from God and his people with the redeeming and transforming love of Jesus Christ, leading them to become followers of Jesus Christ in the fellowship of his Church. (Core Purpose) How do we know when we become followers of Jesus Christ? That is enumerated in our Core Values: We call ourselves to be follower who Reaching hands

  • live under the authority of scripture
  • worship God in the Anglican tradition
  • reach out with compassion to people outside the Church
  • care for one another
  • transform lives for good

In the coming weeks I want to investigate more of who we claim to be, and how that can transform us to become the welcoming community that Jesus call s us to be – that [we] may all be one, just as you, Father, are in me, and I in you, that they also may be in us, so that the world may believe that you have sent me. (John 17:11, 21-23)

Love all Serve allToday I found an article by the Rev’d Herb Bailey, Executive Ministry Director for Uncommon Grounds Café; A Base for Church Army USA, talking about a book by the Rev’d. Dr. David A. Anderson, pastor of Bridgeway Community Church, titled Gracism: The Art of Inclusion. What a beautiful word – Gracism, defined as “When the grace of God is communicated through the beauty of grace.”

I haven’t yet read the book, but the concept is to build a completely welcoming community. As Dr. Anderson says, Gracism is simply “positively extending favor to other people in spite of – or sometimes, because of – color, class or culture.” It is building a community based on Kingdom principals, that looks like God’s creation. The phrase in the Kenyan Liturgy that constantly calls to me is “We have died together, we will rise together, we will live together.” It makes no difference who we are, as those who have chosen to follow and give our lives to Jesus, we first must die – in the waters of Baptism, we have all died together (and risen together!). Again, as followers, at the great awakening, we will all rise together when Jesus comes again. And, in a new heaven and a new earth, we will all live together – black & white (& orange, & red, & puce!), slave & free, male & female (or something in between), heterosexual & homosexual, straight-laced & criminal – the distinguishing factor is not who we were, but who we now are, having died and risen together in Christ Jesus.

That creates quite a diverse community and we will live together – for eternity. Gracism gives us a concept to allow us to begin living in the Kingdom right now, based on how we seek others, welcome others, accept others, live with others.

Beginning to reach others with the transforming power of Jesus Christ will force us to reach one another right now in a deeper way. In Gracism we declare to one another:

  • I will cover you I celebrate you
  • I will share with you
  • I will honor you
  • I will stand with you
  • I will consider you
  • I will celebrate you

That sounds, to me, like a worthwhile endeavor. Are we ready to become who we already claim to be?

Someone told me years ago that allowing ourselves to be molded by God is a messy prospect. Think of yourself as a jigsaw puzzle for a moment. If we allow God to perfect and change one piece, it won’t fit any longer – until we allow all the other pieces to reshape themselves to accept the changed piece. That reshaping may hurt, but when it’s complete the puzzle will be even more beautiful, and all the pieces will fit perfectly – none of them will be clamoring for priority or healing or attention over the others.

Are we willing to allow our Father to reshape us, knowing it is in the love of the Son and the power of the Holy Spirit?                     Pastor TereBaptism of the Lord

Pouring water

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