Wednesday, January 27, 2010

ON BEING A LOVING COMMUNITY


Our Powerhouse+ youths’ vision statement is “A youth-led loving community, empowered by God; growing in faith and grace; impacting lives for Christ.” As we unpack this statement, one of the sub-themes that spring out is a “loving community”. I believe it is this defining characteristic that most establishes the church as God’s light to an unbelieving world, giving the irrefutable undeniable proof that Jesus Christ is Lord and, more than that, he loves and welcomes sinners to turn to Him.

One of the practices that define a loving community is accepting one another in love. In any local church, you find people different in ethnicity, culture, economic positions, personalities, upbringing, etc. It is very easy for such differences to become flashpoints of division between us. In fact, I am sure that in every Christian community, we will find people that we least want to have any contact with. How do we handle such situations? One way is to retreat into an exclusive ‘holy huddle’ and associate only with those with whom we get along with. The other is to accept one another, despite all the ‘flaws and failings’ that we see (and sometimes we are the only ones who ‘see’) in the other person. When we do that, we are living up to Jesus’ exhortation that “By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another” (John 13:35).

This is also the only way that a visitor to Hope Presbyterian Church will see the reality of Christ in our midst – in the way we accept one another. This thought should also compel us to go out of our way to accept those who are new in our midst and strenuously make the effort to integrate them into our community. We can start by giving them our phone numbers and making ourselves available to their queries, if any. We can also invite them out for lunch after service. Perhaps, after service, we will fellowship with them instead of our regular circle of friends. We can invite them to join our small group meetings. All of us can play a part in accepting and integrating newcomers into our community. All that is required of us is a heart willing to do so. And I believe that accepting these newcomers and integrating them is also an act of worship to God in that we are obeying his commands and building his kingdom.

Let us then be proactive about building a loving community for God’s glory. Let us, with God’s grace, actively choose to accept one another and help those who are new in our midst also to join our loving community.

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