An Easter Message for BRMC, 2019
PublishedÂ inÂ theÂ ChurchÂ Gazette,Â AprilÂ 2019
Christ brought us together through his death on the cross. The Cross got us to embrace, and that was the end of the hostility. Christ came and preached peace to you outsiders and peace to us insiders. He treated us as equals, and so made us equals. Through him we both share the same Spirit and have equal access to the Father.
Thatâ€™s plain enough, isnâ€™t it? Youâ€™re no longer wandering exiles. This kingdom of faith is now your home country. Youâ€™re no longer strangers or outsiders. You belong here, with as much right to the name Christian as anyone. God is building a home. Heâ€™s using us allâ€”irrespective of how we got hereâ€”in what he is building. He used the apostles and prophets for the foundation. Now heâ€™s using you, fitting you in brick by brick, stone by stone, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone that holds all the parts together. We see it taking shape day after dayâ€”a holy temple built by God, all of us built into it, a temple in which God is quite at home.
Ephesians 2:16-22, The Message
This month, with Christians across the world, the events of Holy Week will shape and inhabit our worship and whole lives. As Ephesians 2 puts in, it is through Christ, who was led to the cross, that we are brought together, reconciled to each other and to God, made equal and find a home in Godâ€™s kingdom community. It is here we can truly belong. I hope and pray, that in whatever way you are a part of BRMC, you each can feel you belong as part of Godâ€™s community.
But the passage goes on. In being reconciled through Christ we are invited to participate in the very life of God. The home God is building, Godâ€™s kingdom community, is not merely built by God as our landlord for us to reside in as sitting tenants. No. As we are reconciled, as we find belonging, God invites us to participate in equal measure, as partners in the kingdom community. So God invites us to participate, brick by brick, individual by individual, all uniquely gifted by God, to be the holy temple, the church, the body of Christ, who God is shaping us to be.
Since I joined the ministry here at BRMC in September, youâ€™ve often heard me asking that very question (or a derivative of it!) â€“ who is God shaping us to be? The passage from Ephesians reminds us that God is the builder, and it is God who will aid us in answering that very question.
And God has already been doing so. In our conversations about vision for the future weâ€™re reflecting, as a community, on where God has led us and leads us, and I thank all who have contributed to the discussions so far. Weâ€™ll include some opportunity to share where this exercise has lead us, and what the next steps are, during our General Church Meeting on 28th April.
Yet, God is already active among this community, seen and unseen, heard and unheard. Shaping us, loving us, strengthening us, encouraging us, brick by brick, whoever we are, wherever we are. The question about who God is shaping us to be is as much a question of recognising more tangibly where God is already active among our community as it is about asking what else God may be calling us to be. And I believe this starts with talking to each other about what God is doing in us, among us and beyond us.
Which brings us back to Easter. Christ who suffered, died, and rose again. We are called to be resurrection people, resurrection community. We believe and live out the transformative gospel we proclaim in partnership with God. In the words of hymn writer Brian Wren:
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â â€˜Christ is alive! Let Christians sing.
Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â Â The cross stands empty to the sky.â€™
Singing the Faith 297, extract from v1
So let us sing out – with our voices, actions and whole lives â€“ as we participate in the transformative power of the gospel we know and experience ourselves, and wish proclaim to the world. Offering radical hospitality, unconditional love & overflowing grace.
In Christ who lived, died and rose again. Hallelujah!