I see a Church … that is different

During this season of lockdown we have more time to re-evaluate our faith and our practices as a follower of Jesus.

I have been thinking of the desires of Jesus in his prayer, hours before his death.

John 17 v 6-26

“Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify myself, that they too may be truly sanctified.” V17-19

The Message: “Make them holy—consecrated—with the truth; Your word is consecrating truth. In the same way that you gave me a mission in the world, I give them a mission in the world. I’m consecrating myself for their sakes So they’ll be truth-consecrated in their mission.”

Jesus prayed it because he wanted it. He still does.

Set within these verses is a desire of Jesus that we are sanctified. The word is ‘Hagios’ which is usually translated as ‘holy’ but the basic meaning is separate as in ‘different’.

I see a Church … that is different.

We are different in 2 ways:

  1. Set apart for a special task.
  2. Equipped with the qualities of mind, heart and character necessary for that task.

The disciples had been chosen for the spread of the gospel, mighty witnesses of the resurrection of Jesus.

God has chosen us and has set us apart for service. That service is firstly to love Him and then to love others.

This is our purpose.

We are different because God is different. So what does that mean?

In Deuteronomy 10:17-18 God says He, “defends the cause of the fatherless and the widow and loves the immigrant giving him food and clothing.”

This is one of the main things he does in the world. He identifies with the powerless, he takes up their cause. It is this that sets our God apart from all the other ancient gods whose power was always channelled through and identified with the elite of society. Our God was and is always on the side of the powerless and of justice for the poor, needy and vulnerable.

Most people who are downtrodden by abusive power are those who had little power to begin with, God gives them particular attention and has a special place in his heart for them.

Now if God’s character includes zeal for justice that leads him to have tender love and close involvement with the socially weak then what should God’s people be like? If God is so different then surely we should be as different as well? We must be people who are as passionately concerned for the weak and vulnerable as He is. Issues of poverty and injustice must matter, in fact all the many challenges of society are the challenges that the church should embrace. We are not separated from the world but separated/different so that we can engage with a broken world.

May we all know we are separated/different for the special task of loving others.

I see a Church … that is different.

In lockdown we have been amazed by what is possible in terms of the human kindness to one another. We are called to be different. Set apart for good works. To give to the least. To prioritise the last. To find the lost. That is what makes the Church different.

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