I am wanting to take this opportunity to give thanks to God. This week we had a very belated Annual General Meeting. Given we have two congregations, in distinct contexts and with different challenges, we held the meeting over two nights. For some it may sound like I am a sucker for punishment. However, it only served as a double blessing. As a church we talked through some very significant issues. We shared our desire for a building in Didcot which would be a place to worship and serve as a ‘missional resource’. We discussed about appointing a new Pastor to serve in Didcot. Lastly, we agreed to transition The Fountain, in Wallingford, from being a bookshop into a community hub, with a redeveloped kitchen at its heart. It seemed appropriate then that this morning I read the following verses from Paul’s letter to the Ephesians.
Therefore I, a prisoner for serving the Lord, beg you to lead a life worthy of your calling, for you have been called by God. Always be humble and gentle. Be patient with each other, making allowance for each other’s faults because of your love. Make every effort to keep yourselves united in the Spirit, binding yourselves together with peace. For there is one body and one Spirit, just as you have been called to one glorious hope for the future. (Ephesians 4:1-4)
I want to highlight a couple of things. Firstly, as Paul encourages the believers to lead a life ‘worthy’ of their calling, he places character as their priority. I am often aware that when believers discuss their ‘calling’, they focus on what they believe God wants them to do. Yet, in many ways God is more glorified, not by our actions, but through our reactions. Because it is through our reactions that God’s work of grace in our lives is revealed.
Secondly, Paul encourages the church to keep united in the Spirit. Church unity is not something we can manufacture, rather it is something we are asked to maintain. When we were born again, we were born into God’s family. A family that is united in Christ. We must, therefore, do all we can to maintain this bond and not allow division between us. Now, please don’t get me wrong. This is not to suggest that we shouldn’t disagree. In fact, discussion and disagreement are an essential part of every household. The issue then for the church is, how we disagree!
Over the coming months we will seek to press in to all that God has called us to in Christ. I want to encourage you then through these words of Paul. Let us allow God by his Spirit to continue shaping our characters so that we would be more like Jesus’. And let us ensure that as we work through numerous challenges together, that we bind ourselves together in peace.