Monday 3rd August 2020 Basis of Union 19
1 Peter: 4: 7-11
The end of all things is near; therefore be serious and discipline yourselves for the sake of your prayers. Above all, maintain constant love for one another, for love covers a multitude of sins. Be hospitable to one another without complaining. Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received. Whoever speaks must do so as one speaking the very words of God; whoever serves must do so with the strength that God supplies, so that God may be glorified in all things through Jesus Christ. To him belong the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.
The Lord Jesus Christ continues his ministry in and through the Church, the whole people of God called and committed to his service and equipped by him for it. This service is given by worship, prayer, proclamation of the Gospel, and Christian witness; by mutual and outgoing care and responsibility; and by obedient discipleship in the whole of daily life, according to the gifts and opportunities given to each one. The preparation and strengthening of its members for such ministry and discipleship shall always be a major concern of the United Reformed Church. (19)
I am particularly drawn to the vision of ‘Jesus continuing his ministry in and through the Church’. Perhaps it would do us good to reflect, at regular intervals, on this truth.
Do we see Jesus continuing his ministry in the churches we are part of?
Are there areas of our church life where we most certainly do not?
Might the answers to these questions give us enough impetus to change where needed?
The global pandemic has given many areas of our human life a necessary wake-up-call. We have discovered, as we humans do when pushed, that we can indeed change and adapt when it is clear we need to – or when we are left with no choice!
Surely asking ourselves if Jesus’ ministry can be seen in and through our local churches, is just the kind of stimulus we need to stay focused on our ‘worship, prayer, proclamation of the Gospel, Christian witness, care and discipleship in our daily lives’.
As I engaged with this section of the Basis of Union, I heard words from 1 Peter reflected back to me: ‘Like good stewards of the manifold grace of God, serve one another with whatever gift each of you has received.’
You and I are stewards of God’s grace. We are guardians and enablers of Jesus ministry in the church. Whilst that is a whole lot of responsibility, we are empowered with the unique and glorious gifts that God has given each of us. All of us, in our technicolour variety are important to the flourishing of the church.
In the last sentence of this section, we are reminded and encouraged as a denomination, to build-up, cherish and embrace the amazing array of gifts that we each possess: gifts that God has given so that we can indeed continue the ministry of Christ.
There is real excitement and creative hope in these words.
Take a moment to look inward: to seek and know what amazing and unique God-given gift you can bring to the ministry of the church.
we pray that we may find and own the gifts you have given us.
We pray that, once found, we may be brave to use them, even if they are surprising and unappreciated.
We pray that we will continue to build each other up and to recognise the gifts of others as we are church together.
Make us brave to continue the ministry of Jesus and creative when change is needed to follow him more closely.
Call us again and inspire us through your Spirit, we pray.