Participating in Christ
Notes from the pastor
 “Accept each other with love, and make an effort to preserve the unity of the Spirit with the peace that ties you together.  You are one body and one spirit, just as God also called you in one hope.  There is one Lord, one faith, one baptism, and one God and Father of all, who is over all, through all, and in all.  God has given his grace to each one of us measured out by the gift that is given by Christ.”
(Ephesians 4:2–7) 

God has designed us to be in relationship. Participation is how we share in the goodness God has gifted to us in Christ and the Holy Spirit.  There are a lot of definitions we could use, but participation in our context as the Church means we are called to build up “the body of Christ, until all of us come to the unity of faith and of the knowledge of God’s Son,” as Paul declares to the church in Ephesus.  We share one faith and one Lord, through the one hope we have in our shared baptism.
Discipleship implies that we are participants in God’s mission; we actively live out God’s purposes to grow in our knowledge and love of God by showing mercy to the oppressed, welcoming the stranger, feeding the hungry, and embracing everyone God places in our path as a person for whom Christ has died and risen.  It’s been said before that Christian discipleship isn’t a spectator sport; it’s not something we passively consume.  When Jesus came he didn’t establish a new religion but brought life, and life is always in motion. Participating in the life of the church in worship and mission is how we embody this life.  It’s not something else to do, but finding joy in the grace of a community that helps us navigate life and listen to God together. 
The more effort and energy we put into the church’s life, and the more we give ourselves to each other, the more we want to know, the more we want to be together, the more we want to enjoy who God has made each of us to be.  In doing this, we reflect the unity of God to the world. Relationship, then, is the operative word at work in a life of participating in what God is up to in the world and in our community.
By design, the church is meant to be a community that enjoys one another and serves through our baptism.  We’re meant to help one another discover our gifts so that we can do life together without fear that we aren’t good enough, gifted enough, or haven’t been here long enough to play a significant part in our worship and work.  Prayers, presence, gifts, service, and witness: everyone has a part to play — your piece of the puzzle — and without all of us working together to make worship and mission happen, the vision and sound and touch of God’s presence in this place and this community lacks its full potential.  May we participate, so that we may experience life in God to the fullest. 
- Pastor Patrick
Last Published: January 22, 2019 1:24 PM
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