Friday, June 19, 2020

Hijacked by a verse 2)

The second way of saying this as Christ's friends to each other.  That because we belong to Jesus together, with the Holy Spirit uniting us in different deeper ways, we experience a deeper spiritual bonding. 'Being present in spirit' means much more because there is a bond that is not just natural but owes everything to the Holy Spirit.  We didn't choose the others! They are given to us because we all belong to Jesus Christ who chooses us to be his family together.  This means all kinds of people with whom we might otherwise have little in common are bound together spiritually.

I remember one occasion receiving three people into church membership in Cambridge.  One was a professor and his academic wife. The other was rarely seen without a grubby yellow Cambridge United scarf and often with his yellow hi-viz jacket.  He was the road sweeper, frequently with his cart along our road. There was real joy on the three faces and afterwards the professor said to me: 'That's what heaven is going to be like, isn't it?  All sorts of people belonging together!' We say the prayer: 'Thy will be done on earth as in heaven' don't we?...we should expect every kind of difference to be within the kingdom now.

In Colossians this bonding is closely connected with prayer for prayer holds us together across distance sometimes so strongly that we can feel the strength of prayers of others at a distance. I'm on your side, right beside you.  Love is also vital because knowing and sharing the love of Jesus is the most powerful uniting force of all.

Like many churches our zoom times continue to emphasize our separateness in our own homes.  But this spiritual bonding through prayer and love holds us together like no other force. When the Holy Spirit is involved the experience of encouragement, empathy and imaginative engagement happen at a deeper level. And that gives such hope about the future for the church.  Unlike some other organizations that wonder if they will survive we have this extraordinary dynamic that holds us together going forward.

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