Coming Together To Build Together
We have been encouraged to continually keep in mind the biblical and prophetic vision of the river and the tree. This speaks to us of the life-giving Spirit and the community of life and love that he produces. It speaks to us of God’s great plan to fill the earth with the garden of God’s presence. It speaks of the transformation of our world from a wilderness into the garden of God (see Gen.2:8-15; Ezek.47:1-12; Rev.22:1-5).
But then God has also spoken to us about building (or rebuilding) the house of God. Of course, houses and gardens belong together! The house reminds us of the family of God, and the tree reminds us of the attractive and inclusive kingdom community that God uses to transform the world (Matt.13:31-32). Both are aspects of the Church and it is most definitely a case of both/and, not either/or. We want to be both a close-knit family and an inclusive community.
Right now, however, as shared at the recent church meeting, there is a prophetic burden for us to come together to build God’s house. There is a call of the Spirit for us to ‘come together to work on God’s house together’ (Haggai 1:14, The Voice). It is a time to come ‘together as one’ (Ezra 3:1). It is not a time for us to be just doing our own thing, forging our own paths or looking on from the side-lines. It is a time to come together, whatever that may look like practically. It will include meeting together, praying together, worshipping together, serving together, giving together. It will include working hard at relationships, resolving conflicts and loving well. It will include listening to each other, and not making assumptions about each other. It will include each owning our vision together, and honouring the gifts we each bring to the work of building. Above all, it will mean ‘building ourselves up in love, as each part does its work.’ (Eph.4:16). It is over such a house that God will command his blessing (Psalm 133).
Nobody can make any of us do this. It cannot be coerced. It cannot even be demanded. But we can be encouraged to hear the call of the Spirit, and to let him stir our hearts – to stir our hearts to come together to build (Ezra 1:5). ‘He who has ears to hear let him hear what the Spirit says to the churches.’ (Rev.3:22).