I’d like in this week’s blog to look back so that we can then look forward.
With the death of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II there has been much looking back, and lots of reflection. Whether in mainstream media, social media, the printed press, conversations in coffee shops or the lunch table at work, people have been sharing their reflections, memories, and viewpoints. Some are positive, some are critical, some are full of passion, and some are ambivalent. Nevertheless, whatever your stance and feelings, there is a palpable sense of national grief and that these are momentous days.
A Royal Priesthood
I wonder what our role is during this time given our identity, our calling, as a Royal Priesthood (1 Peter 2: 9) to the King of Kings?
Certainly, if we think back to the Old Testament priesthood, then a major function of the priesthood was to represent ‘the people’ to God. I sense that in these days of much change, in the midst of crises that have not gone away, there is a renewed call on the church in our country to bring before God the people of our land(s).
In Julyan’s blog last week and in his preach on Sunday he used Andrei Rublev’s 15th Century icon of the Trinity. Here are some key points I took from Julyan and his text of John 1: 1- 18, especially verse 14.
- The ‘empty’ place in Rublev’s painting reminds us that because God is love, He both made space for another and reaches out to draw that other into the fellowship, the communion, of Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. This “reaching out” took its most powerful and direct form in the Son taking on human flesh in the incarnation.
- This reminds us that God’s love is not exclusive (inward-looking) but is inclusive; it goes out and seeks that which is the object of its love. The good news for us, the good news for the people of our land(s), is that the object of God’s love is the world that he created out of his reaching out to love (John 3:16).
- This reaching outness is synonymous with being sent. The Son is willingly sent from the comfort and splendour of his heavenly communion with the Father and Spirit. This ‘sent-ness’ means He can show us the glory of the Father and in love draw us, sinful humankind, to the Father, and in doing so cleanse us and make us ‘fit’ that we may sit in communion with Him at His table.
Sent as Royal Priests
Underpinning Julyan’s preach, underpinning our whole “Get Stuck in” series is the great commission; not Matthew 28:19 …but John 20:21.
“Peace be with you. As the Father has sent me, so I send you”.
To be a Royal Priest is to make space for others, to reach out in love, and to be sent by the Father as Jesus was sent. It speaks of a Holy Spirit empowered been sent to minister to people the good news of the kingdom and to hold/represent/bring before God the peoples of our land(s).
While this unquestionably includes intercessory prayer, it means that just as Christ’s coming to us in the incarnation means we are included at ‘His table’ so also, we are included (called to participate) in God’s great mission of reconciliation and salvation.
Over the next few weeks, most of our Life Groups will be starting to use some LiCC material called Life on the Frontline. This material helps remind us that we are all participants in God’s mission, we all have a front line.
It is my prayer that as we explore or refresh ourselves about God’s mission so we will see with fresh eyes what God is doing and understand more fully that our sent-ness, the call to participate, is simply to find out what God is doing and join in with Him.
But how are we to join in?
This will look different depending on the giftings God has given each one of us. Mark Greene from LiCC talks about the 6M’s, which are 6 different ways or modes of being missional. None of us are equally as gifted or strong at all 6M’s, but that’s why God places us in His family called the Church so that between us we have and share all the gifts.
Here are the 6Ms, I wonder which M is your gifting, an area you are strong in?
- Model godly character
- Making good work
- Minister grace and love
- Mould culture
- Be a mouthpiece for truth and justice
- Be a messenger of the Gospel
You can read a description of each M HERE.
Connected to the Vine.
This is not about doing things in our own strength or picking up additional activities. It is about being connected to God, in whom we find life and who by His Spirit empowers us to live missional lives.
Needless to say, if this is to be the case, then we need to make sure we are going deeper with God, and that we remain connected to the vine (John 15).
There is an opportunity on Saturday to do just this at our Going Deeper with God conference with Lin Button. [Click Here to Book].
Lin will also be with us on Sunday morning and I’m looking forward to what God is going to share with us through her.
Grace and peace.