Some of my most fond memories from my schooling have come from the relationships that were created. When I entered college and began my instruction in music, I was suddenly thrust into a community of students who had much in common. We all loved music and we talked about it all the time. Of course, we all had our specialties, voice, trumpet, piano, etc, but that didn’t really divide us. We took the same classes together. We performed together. We hung out together. I still keep up with many of those relationships that were formed there, even though none of my classmates reside in this area. What keeps us close even though time and distance separate us? Music… our common bond.
What do we have in common?
I find a beautiful parallel between my college experience and what I expect the church to be like. We’re all gathered here in the same place for the same reason, Jesus. Yes, we’re young and old and working and retired and single and married and the like. But none of these things that could distinguish us compares to what binds us. We are Christian. We understand our need for forgiveness. We are sinners by birth and would be lost forever due to our disobedience to God. We have this in common! We know the grace of God through Jesus and his sacrificial death and the forgiveness that comes through faith in Him. We have this in common! As Christians we struggle with our sinfulness, all the while seeking to serve the God who has given us forgiveness and the confidence of life eternal. We have this in common!
I wonder what would happen to a marriage if the couple spent their time talking about everything BUT what they have most in common. Would it be healthy? Would it thrive? Would it even survive? When I observe the Christian church, and even Bethel, I see us talking about everything BUT the things that we have most in common. Do we talk about spiritual things with each other? Do you talk about Jesus with your brothers and sisters at Bethel? Do you ever share your struggles with sin, the power of forgiveness, or the Spirit working through you to share the Gospel with others? Are we like the marriage relationship I described? Are we thriving in our relationships with each other? Imagine what would happen if we related on a spiritual level. Imagine the bonds that would be created, the faith strengthened, the Gospel shared…
But I know the reality. We’re not used to sharing things like that. Our faith is personal, private and sensitive. It’s hard to reveal our struggles. It’s hard to talk about faith. It’s hard to know who to trust with our hearts. That’s why we need to build the bonds of trust in our church family. We need to get to know each other on the personal level so that we can dig into the spiritual level together. I pray our GodSpeak groups will encourage us to share on the spiritual level. God will speak to you in His word. He wants to speak through you in your life. Your brothers and sisters in Christ understand that. God willing, we will build a culture in our church that encourages us to relate with each other by what we have MOST in common, Jesus.