Being a healthy church is, “not rocket science… You preach the gospel, offer hospitality, and pay attention to worship and people’s spiritual lives, Frankly, you take Christianity seriously as a way of life.”
I keep coming back to this quote from Christianity for the Rest of Us (the book we explored in depth several years ago, which laid the groundwork for the formation of our church goals).
It is a great reassurance when I start to feel like the task of being a church (and being the pastor of a church) is too big. “It’s Jesus’ job to build the church, Belinda,” I tell myself. “Your job/our job is not rocket science… You preach the gospel, offer hospitality, and pay attention to worship and people’s spiritual lives, Frankly, you take Christianity seriously as a way of life.”
I was reminded again of this quote when I received an email from Gershon Nimbalker, the new National Director of Common Grace, this week. He has commissioned poet and Baptist pastor, Will Small, to write a poem that expresses the heart of why Common Grace is passionate about taking Christianity seriously – in the areas of Torres Strait Islander and Aboriginal justice, refugee advocacy, family violence prevention and climate preservation.
“In the beginning,” it begins, “God made a home.
Not a house with four walls and a door
– a place of belonging and safety for all.
For bodies with wings and tails,
or fins and scales,
or human skin
like you and I exist within…”
It is a beautiful poem and is accompanied here – https://www.commongrace.org.au/about – by beautiful videography. Check it out!
And, as an aside, I was also reminded of my reflection at the last church meeting – that even in our difficulties with our Association, we are discovering “new graces”.
One of these has been the privilege of getting to know and working with people like Will Small (originally a Canberra boy!) who pastors a church plant in the Newcastle region (a church plant that is now under threat) and Christine McPherson, the pastor of Berowra Baptist Church, who scouted the location on which most of the video is shot (and also appears in it – in her sensible sunhat – a few times) on the beautiful lands of the Dhurag and Guringai people.
Both Will and Christine have been a part of the #1919 group which has continued to faithfully remind our Association of our Baptist heritage/Christian commitment to congregational church government and the priesthood of all believers (taking Christianity seriously) and the Lordship of Jesus (that it is Jesus – not us – that decide how the church will be built).
It is incredibly heartening to be working with such creative and committed people – to know that we are in the company of other communities of faith that take these Baptist values and the task of Christian discipleship seriously.
So, let us keep going with our task – that is not rocket science – but is about loving Jesus, loving each other and loving this wonderful world that Jesus loves.
Grace and peace,