• Josh Reading

Tear down the six foot fence


JOSH HERE:

Hey guys, last Sunday Cathy did communion at Queanbeyan and like all truth it was both beautifully simple yet experientially profound. So here it is... (a little adapted for blog format)


OVER TO CATHY: “For this reason I kneel before the Father, 15 from whom every family[a] in heaven and on earth derives its name. 16 I pray that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being, 17 so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith. And I pray that you, being rooted and established in love, 18 may have power, together with all the Lord’s holy people, to grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, 19 and to know this love that surpasses knowledge—that you may be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God. Ephesians 3:14-19

Photo Credit: "D Sharon Pruitt" Pink Sherbet Photgraphy

Imagine a church that really gets that amazing picture of the love of Christ. Imagine a community that experiences how wide and long and high and deep that love is, the love that we can’t escape and that permeates every hidden part of us. Imagine what it would look like for that kind of love to overflow to the surrounding community.

We get bits and pieces of that love. We are touched in some measure but one reason I think that we miss his love in all its fullness is that we forget about a few words in this prayer that Paul prays. He prays that we would grasp this love “together with all the Lord’s holy people”. Some translations say “together with all the saints”. So the context for the experience of the fullness of the love of God is community.

Most of us, at least those who grew up in an Australian culture are pretty individualistic. Self reliant. Independent. Sometimes proud of our ability to stand on our own two feet. And so we miss the “together with all the saints” bit. Content with a largely private faith, we miss the richness of the brothers and sisters ministering the love of God to each other in a forgiving and accepting community.

I still vividly remember my first encounter with the love of Christ as an 18year old (yes, a while ago!!). I started hanging out with a bunch of charismatic Catholics who had all gotten filled with the Holy Spirit, and the community was spilling out all over the place. They were absolutely devoted to God and their community life, and made all sorts of crazy sacrifices to love God and each other more. The love they experienced and ministered was so absolutely compelling that my life was changed forever. I was transformed by the love of God “together with all the saints”.

More recently, at an Equip night I was struggling with a family problem, when Josh asked if anyone needed prayer. My first reaction was to remain quiet – after all, I didn’t want to turn into a blubbering mess in front of all those cool young people! But I gave in to God – usually a more sensible plan – and again felt the love of God overflow “together with all the saints”.

The act of taking communion in church is a celebration of our oneness in Christ – one faith, one church, one baptism. It’s more than an individual opportunity to ask God’s forgiveness for our failures. It’s a corporate act where we humbly acknowledge that we are connected. That’s the idea behind having one loaf, as they do in some churches. It’s a statement that we are living ”together with all the saints”.

So how do we grow into this reality? I love what Ric Burrell said. “We could start by dismantling the six foot high fences we erect around ourselves.” Get vulnerable. Get real. Make time to be together with all the saints. And pray Paul’s prayer, that we would grasp how wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ, and be filled to the measure of all the fullness of God.

How will you tear down the six foot fence in this week to both experience together the fullness of Christ and allow that fullness of Christ to impact the community around you?

#community #fullness #christ #love #communitas

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© 2015 by Josh Reading