Over the last few days, we have explored scriptures, either discovering truths for the first time or reminding ourselves about who we are and the reason that God created us. We have thought about the importance of our relationship with God, how by spending time in His presence we can be free of the worldly labels that weigh us down. Today we are going to explore what that means for us collectively, where does all of this fit in to God’s great plan?
Just by reading this reflection you are joining together with other Christians, as each of you read these thoughts and ponderings I pray that the spirit will prompt your own set of thoughts, this is not the full journey but merely a starting block or springboard to help you on your way. When Christians come together in some way, either physically or virtually in the name of Christ, it is church and what a wonderful gift that is.
Church has been vastly different lately, Covid-19 has turned what we knew it to be upside down, access to our buildings was forbidden and even now that we are back, things are not the same. This has pushed many of us out of our comfort zones, finding new ways to connect and worship, indeed these daily reflections were born from a desire to reach out and serve the community during these times. Something for us all to hold on to amid the chaos, the doubts and the unknown is that although the world is quite different, God remains the same!
In Acts just after Pentecost (often referred to as the birthday of the church) we read about how the believers came together in fellowship.
42 They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe at the many wonders and signs performed by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 They sold property and possessions to give to anyone who had need. 46 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, 47 praising God and enjoying the favour of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.
As you read this scripture does it remind you of the church we know today? Even though we have only recently been able to physically meet again in person, during lockdown our parish and indeed Christians worldwide were and still are, finding ways to carry out this simple fellowship and continue being church. Church, not the building but the coming together of Christians is our collective identity, it is how we can be seen and stand out, what sets us apart and brings glory to God. Just as we were created to be in relationship with God, we were created to be in relationship with each other.
What Church is and how it looks will be different to many people, there is probably a whole other reflection waiting to be written on that topic, but that can wait for another time and another day! I would like us to look instead at 1 Corinthians to see how God has made a place for each of us.
12 Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. 13 For we were all baptized by[a] one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. 14 Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
15 Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 16 And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. 17 If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? 18 But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. 19 If they were all one part, where would the body be? 20 As it is, there are many parts, but one body.
21 The eye cannot say to the hand, “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” 22 On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, 23 and the parts that we think are less honourable we treat with special honour. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, 24 while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honour to the parts that lacked it, 25 so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. 26 If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honoured, every part rejoices with it.
27 Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.
1 Corinthians 12:12-27
God know us, He loves us, He created us and has a plan and purpose for us ALL!
If you have time today, write a letter either to yourself or to God, this could be a letter of thanks, a prayer or an affirmation of who you are in Christ. Keep it safe, perhaps tucked in the back of your Bible and on those days when doubts creep in and you are tempted to listen to the lies of the world and God seems far away, take it out, read it and remember: YOU are special, YOU are God’s Masterpiece, You are who God created you to be and most of all YOU are LOVED.
I will leave the final word this week to Helen Yousaf.