The Table is the most important piece of furniture in the Kingdom of God.
Let me say that again…The Table is the most important piece of furniture in the Kingdom of God.
It’s what brings us together. It’s what levels the playing field. It’s what gets us talking, and praying, and confessing, and asking questions.
On Sundays like today, we have two tables set-up. One is larger in length, at the back, that holds the coffee and snacks for our break, the other is smaller in size, but larger in significance. Both do similar things, bring the body of Christ together in Community.
We’ll get to more of that theme in today’s post, but first…a bit of a recap from our series: GROW-ing.
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Our winter series was intended for us to walk through few vision points, and we did just that.
We started with a reminder that we have the responsibility to plant seeds, nurture those seeds, and allow God to do his work of growth…in us… through us. (post here)
What did we focus on?
- Letting go & Letting God
- What must I give up? What must I add?
- Formation isn’t a one time event, but a collection of moments, experiences, practices, conversations, gatherings, challenges, wins, losses, brokenness, and healing.
- “The kingdom that Jesus preached & lived was all about a glorious, uproarious, absurd generosity”(NT Wright)
- Being generous, is an investment…
- More about a decision, than a dollar…
- Everybody wins with generosity…
- It’s going to involve a healthy understanding of stewarding your finances and your gifts…
- Impact is doing good
- Impact is sharing Jesus
- Impact is Living, Serving, Speaking
- What kind of dent or difference are we making for God and for good, at home, in our neighbourhood, at work, in our city, in our world?
This ALL happens…in and through the context of community.
We want to grow in our sense of community.
Become a community who has Jesus at the centre
Become a community who loves God & others
Become a community that is unique & attractive
Become a community who cares, loves, welcomes, cheers on, prays, builds up, encourages, challenges, confesses, that IS
The word for church is EKKLESIA. This comes from two words: Kaleo (called) & Ek (out).
- We’re called out of the world, to be community together.
- Henri Houwen talks about a traditional Bell Tower ringing…and people, from different homes, different experiences, different backgrounds, different influences, come together and become one in Christ – to be the church together.
- Remember though, that we’re also called back into the world, to be light, to be hope, to be makers of peace.
- The church is called out of the world to be community together (gather) and we are also called back into the world (scatter) to be live out the love of Jesus we’ve experienced together.
Earlier in our gathering we read from two scripture texts. Matthew 18 & Acts 2.
(Matthew 18) For where two or three gather in my name, there am I with them.
(Acts 2) They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. All the believers were together and had everything in common.They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
- Jesus’ words in Matthew were the initial invitation to gather around him.
- In Acts 2, Luke fleshes this out in a practical and real way.
Here’s the beauty and mystery of all that we talked about in this series…it all happens or flows out of a biblical and healthy understanding of community.
Luke describes a community where all these things happen: Formation, Generosity, Impact. In Acts they…
- Learned together
- Broke Bread together
- Filled in Awe, saw god at work…together
- Share values…together
- Looked for needs to fill…together
- Experienced Growth…together
What we learn from early on, from Jesus words, from the early church’s experience, and up until our current day expression: Following Jesus can’t happen alone. It’s impossible.
A few other places we see this in the NT…
John 17:20 ‘I pray that they may be one’
Ephesians 4:2 ‘bear with one another in love’
Galatians 5:13 ‘serve one another humbly’
2 Thessalonians 1:3 ‘thank God for my bros & sis’
1 John 3:23 ‘love one another’
1 John 4:12 ‘people see God when we love one another’
Think about the 2 sacraments that the protestant church practices: Baptism & Communion.
- Each of them are things you can’t do alone
- You can’t dunk yourself. Baptism alone is just a bath.
- Communion alone is just starch & shots
The word Sacrament = Mystery. And it is a mystery how broken people become family. It’s a mystery I want to be a part of.
Bob Goff wrote, “Next to grace, I bet God thinks having us need each other was one of his best ideas.”
Mr Rogers said, “If you could only sense how important you are to the lives of those you meet? There is something of yourself that you leave at every meeting with another person.” (this is most true in the church)
Bonhoeffer (the real theologian of the bunch) said, “In a Christian community everything depends upon whether each individual is an indispensable link in the chain. Once the smallest link is securely interlocked, is the chain unbreakable.”
He’s saying that the weak need the strong, and the strong need the weak.
Just like kid’s Lego sets, you don’t always know what’s missing, until you need a piece.
But I think the church should be different…
“Let’s not wait until someone is missing to value them – let’s value them from the beginning so they never go missing.”
So…know this…as we grow in community, we will inevitably grow in formation, generosity, and in impact.
And know this too…gathering together is not to be taken lightly…it’s so important to your spiritual life. You are MISSED when you’re not here. The church is not the same, when you are not here.
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Let’s end with Paul’s words in Colossians 3:15-17. May they be a prayer for you, for us, for all who desire to find Christ in the context of community, the church.