Paul makes it clear that if we’re living according to God’s desire, our first focus – our primary desire – will be the cares, interests, and concerns of others. How does our stewardship – our giving of time, talent, and treasure – support this call?
Paul helped structure the early church to live into God’s desire for the Church. Only, hierarchy and power perverted that design. Building up bigger buildings for ourselves, the church in America looks very little like what Paul envisioned. To reclaim that vision is challenging, but it’s necessary work to become who God has created us to be.
The gifting of the Spirit at Pentecost gives us the rawest and truest glimpse of God’s desire for the church: to be the living witness and testimony to the goodness of God in the world. Everything else the church does should be to better serve this purpose.
It’s hard to image a world with no war, no competition, no division, and no sorrow. For us, it might even be unimaginable. But, this is exactly the body God has created in Christ. This is exactly the body empowered by God with the Spirit. This is the beauty of humanity formed by God in creation.
In times of hardship, despair, and trials on the journey of faithfulness, we may wonder, God, what do you want from us?! We are not the first to ask such a question, nor are we the first to receive such an answer: act justly, love mercy and walk humbly with the Lord.
As Christ ascended, he promised to send *another* advocate, so that the work of God, the work done by Christ, the Word exemplified in Christ, the grace extended through Christ, the mercy offered out of Christ, the love witnessed because of Christ – that all these works may not cease to be, but that we, empowered by the Spirit, might continue these works, and to do even greater works still to come.
The power of God is not offered for our tribe, our kingdom, or our gain. Christ’s ascension is just another necessary action of God in critique of the self-motivation of disciples. Christ once more calls us to be prepared for the Spirit to lead us in dispersing power as we share God’s love with all persons, even to the ends of the earth.
We are called to more intentional care for one another by establishing a more nurturing faith community. That’s part of what it means to be Making a Place for Everyone.
Too often we are expected to follow along without knowing why we are doing what we are doing. Christian practices are no different, like prayer. Prayer isn’t meant to be a last ditch effort to get the Almighty to save us from our human failures. Prayer instead is an ongoing response to our joy in the Lord.
Many will claim that spirituality is deeply personal, but the Biblical claim is that faithful spirituality is most authentic when shared in the body of Christ.