Making the love of God real in the real world
Over the last few months, we have begun each newsletter with a brief Focus article; from this month we will be calling these articles ‘Reflection’. We will use the next few articles to remind you of some of the key elements of the vision that was shared on the 23rd May.
Let’s start with a reminder of how we are summing up our purpose as a church. It is the purpose of every church, of the Church: to be the body of Christ. Jesus Christ was and is God in the flesh. He is God in a real, flesh and blood human body, showing us what God is like – right here in the real world. So when we look at Jesus we see what God is like. And the Bible tells us that God is love. So Jesus is the embodiment of love, making God’s love real. Jesus is what the love of God looks like. And when he came in human flesh, Jesus didn’t float through the air, or enter a fairy tale world. He entered this real, messed up, broken world as a real man, and showed us what God was really like right here in the middle of all the mess. We see him do exactly this in the gospels – loving unconditionally the outcasts of his society, the lepers, the blind and the lame, the woman with an issue of blood, a woman caught in adultery, a hated tax collector and con man. This was real love in the real world. Our understanding is that the church as the body of Christ is to continue to do that. Jesus told his followers ‘as the Father has sent me, so am I sending you’ – sending us right into the middle of the mess to embody God. Right among narky neighbours, difficult colleagues, troubled children; among mental health challenges, misunderstandings, fragmented relationships; among broken bodies and bruised souls. Sending us into the real world, to continue to embody the love of God – to show the world what God looks like, what love looks like. In that real world, for some the real love of God looks like a miraculously healed body; for some it looks a word of encouragement, comfort or wisdom; for some it simply looks like a friend. Whatever it looks like in the particular, our purpose is to reveal this love. The reason we exist is to make the love of God real in the real world.