An excerpt from yesterday's sermon...  (full text attached)

 

So now… all of this talk about alternative community has gotten us… where?  Our focus on the story of the perfect community which existed before the fall into sin, and on thecovenantal community God sought to reestablish with the rescued descendants of Abraham gathered into a special relationship with God and one another guided by the Ten Commandments, and finally on the remarkableagape/love community of the early Church as described in the book of Acts, which drew the attention of others who remarked “See how they love another!”… just where, exactly, has all of this talk gotten us?!

 

I mean, there’s obviously plenty of reason for pessimism.  After all, none of these communities— the created one, the attempted covenantal one, and even the early church one—none of these seemed to have any real staying power, did they?  After being kicked out of the Garden of Eden, humans haven’t ever gotten along very well, have they?  Israel never really seemed to buy into the Sinai Covenant community did they, even after being called back to it time and time again by the prophets sent by God?  And the early Church soon was torn by conflict and division.  

 

So why should we try?  Isn’t it kind of illogical, wishful, perhaps even arrogant to believe we can grow an alternative community here (or anywhere, really)?  Sure, we can continue to pray “Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done on earth as it is in heaven”, but we don’t really think it’s realistic to expect that to happen, do we?  The truth is, all attempted utopias have failed.  

 

But here are a couple of core values in my life, which reflect how I believe I have been called to live my life: First: It is okay to try, but fail; but it is never okay to fail to try.  Individually and collectively, sin—which lost the ultimate and eternal war at Calvary and in the resurrection of Jesus—will continue to win some battles along the way.  Try as we might, self-centeredness will assert and reassert itself at times, and I/we will fail and we will fall.  Imperfect people will never be able to create a perfect community.  

 

But we sure as heaven will never stop trying!  And sure as heaven, given the fact that the One who is in us is greater than the one who is living in the world, we can grow—both individually and as a community—in our Christ-likeness.  And that is the second core value of my life that I’d encourage you to consider for your life: fueled by gratitude and fully reliant on the promised power of the Holy Spirit, I/we can grow in Christ-likeness.  We can grow in love and we can grow in generosity and service and we can grow as a community; not on our own, nor by sheer will-power, and certainly not flawlessly, but by the power of the Spirit we can and must grow!  

 

Growing with You,

Mark

 


 

   November 2018   
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