Thanks Paul for your comment on my last post: 'Now that's the church.' In his book The Road to Missional (2011) Michael Frost writes about the role that film trailers play in cinema. When trailers are shown before the main feature they are tasters 'usually including the best special effects or the funniest scenes or the most romantic moments, depending on the film, of the forthcoming feature. Now, watch those around you in the theatre at the end of each trailer. If it has done its job, usually one person will turn to the other and say, "I want to see that movie."
He goes on to write: This is a great metaphor for the missional church. If it does its job well, people will see what it does and say, "I want to see the world they come from." The church is to be like a trailer for the New Jerusalem, a taster, with all the best bits on full display. If we believe that the world to come is a place of love and mercy, we are to be a trailer of that love and mercy, a free sample for those looking to buy into the whole thing....our mission is to create foretastes of such worship...in this way we both demonstrate and announce the reign of God through Christ.
The inclusion of Russell and Jenny should be no big deal but often the world makes it so. Yet, from our very first service Carol and I warmed to the way this church so lovingly embraced them, wonderfully overcoming awkwardness and complications. Trying to include a wide range of people always tends to make us uncomfortable - too often we prefer to worship in a personal comfort zone. The paradox is that whenever a people step out with Jesus to welcome all others we experience a quality of togetherness with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit that is truly an experience of the reign of God.
I should love to hear similar stories from you when you could honestly say: 'Now that's the church!'