"Heavenly Father, as I come ready to connect with You again, teach me what it means to be connected to those all around me. Amen."
Song for Reflection: This is Amazing Grace
Scripture Reading: Ephesians 4:1-16
This Scripture was the focus of this Sunday's message - if you missed it, catch it here! We hear in this passage about the God and Father of us all, who came to us through the one Lord Jesus, and fills our hearts through the one Spirit. But because there is one God in three persons, it also means that each of us don't have separate relationships with God, but we are called together to be the "one body" of Christ in this world. Within the one body, there is distinction - each of us have beautiful and unique gifts - but not division and separation. We are called to love, to a spirit of unity. Paul often refers to the Spirit as the "bond of peace" between us.
But why is connection to the body of Christ so essential? One of the earliest theologians of the church, Cyprian, used to say, "You can't have God as your Father without the church as your mother." The statement can easily be misinterpreted and misapplied, but the underlying sentiment is a good one: The place where we encounter the unconditional love of the Father for us revealed in Jesus is through the caring, nurturing, challenging, and grace-filled relationships of the church. Not every human household works the same. But in mine, my Dad did most of the work outside the home, loving the family by working to provide a safe and secure home. Mom was mostly home, doing lots of the daily work of nurture and care that allowed me to realize and know that I did indeed belong, that I was indeed safe and secure.
God the Father loves you and loves each one of us! He has an inheritance and eternal home for us that He secured in Jesus! But how do you and I, our neighbors, our kids, our friends come to realize this in our day-to-day lives? That is often the work of mother church - in the way we care for and nurture each other, the way we embody the love of Christ in millions of little ways. We need the church to show us what grace looks like in real human relationships. We need you to grace others with the beauty of your gifts. This is how we mature into secure and anchored people: "speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ. From him the whole body, joined and held together by every supporting ligament, grows and builds itself up in love, as each part does its work." (Eph. 4:15-16).
God’s great passion is to bring things together again through Jesus. Today, in what key relationships are you experiencing a disconnect?
What does this Scripture tell us about how God brings peace and reconciliation to relationships?
Today, how might God be inviting you to reconnect with others?
"God, thank you for showing me grace through your people. Fill me with that same grace for those all around me. In Jesus' name, Amen."