Why is it that we have such a hard time loving people that we disagree with? These people could be close friends or family, they could be leaders in the company we work for or of the country we live in. However these people come into our lives we often experience them as our enemy, rather than as someone with whom we share a bond. What do I mean by that? What kind of bond do we share with "these people"? This answer is not original to me, but when we experience another as our enemy, part of the problem, perhaps the core of the problem, is that we believe that they need Jesus more than we do. We forget the basic tenet of the Gospel that all are equal at the foot of the cross. This is the bond that we share with all humanity: all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God. When we properly account for this fact, only to find ourselves gloriously rescued, the result can never be a prideful looking down on another, but rather, as Paul puts it in our text for Sunday, “For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned” (Romans 12:3). This sober judgment is the heart of Gospel living and will change our churches and our world! Singer songwriter Nathan Partain puts it this way:
"Now I say, “Glory! Hallelujah!”, I’m so glad to be redeemed!
To be so desperate for Jesus and so gloriously weak,
I do not ever want to stray from the Community of Need,
O may I never leave dependence or forsake my Food and Drink,
I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus. I need Jesus. Oh, I need Jesus."
And so, we belong to the Community of the Redeemed. It is amazing how much God has entrusted to this community and the extent of the gifts that he has given to his Church. We will be looking at these more closely on Sunday (Romans 12:3-8). We will also be experiencing the receipt of one of these gifts as we install Addison as an associate pastor. I know for some this is kind of confusing. Addison is already one of our pastors. Why are we installing him? The answer is that in our ecclesial policy, as we have called him as an associate pastor, his relationship to the church has changed. As an assistant pastor he was basically an employee of the Session and not a member of the Session. Now he is called by the congregation and is a full member of the Session. We mark this with an installation and invite you to be a part of it (at our 6 pm service) and certainly invite you to continue to pray for Addison and Lynnette as they continue their life among us with this new relationship to Christ Church.
Don’t forget to sign up for one of our services this week. Please continue to be in prayer for the many dynamics involved with our moving inside. As you can imagine, folks at Christ Church fall along a spectrum of comfortability with being inside, wearing masks, etc…. Once again we come back to that central truth, we all need Jesus as we navigate the fraught nature of these days.
Photo by Nico Smit on Unsplash