When using a lap-top that is not plugged in there is a little icon in the toolbar that keeps you informed of the state of the battery: 89% remaining, 52% remaining…. We are a bit like that lap-top when we are not connected – we lose energy, we lose vision, we let hurts, pains and disappointments steer our lives, we lose perspective and we can even lose a sense of who we are.
The Bible speaks about connectedness – Ephesians 1: 9 – 10 says: “And he made known to us the mystery of his will according to his good pleasure, which he purposed in Christ, to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment – to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.” and Psalm 133 proclaims: “How good and pleasant it is when we live together in unity!”
What connections do we need to make?
First, be connected to Christ. He connects all things and provides the root of our unity. We belong to many different groups and elements, even within a church setting, but our primary identity is in Christ, who joins us all together. The Lectionary reading for today (8th November, 2009) is from Mark 12: 38 – 44 and describes the widow’s offering: As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted in the market places, and have the most important seats in teh synagogues and the places of honour at banquets. They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. Such men will be punished most severely.” Jesus sat down opposite the place where the offerings wer put and watched the crowd putting their money into the temple treasurey. May rich people threw in large amounts. But a poor widow came and put in two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny. Calling his disciples to him, Jesus said, “I tell you the truth, this poor widow has put more into the treasurey than all the others. They all gave out of their wealth, but she, out of her poverty put in everything, all she had to live on.”
Out of all the wonderful sights and sounds in the temple that day, Jesus took notice of the small offering of a lowly widow. In today’s world the cameras and lights focus on the famous and infamous – isn’t it wonderful to realise that the little things we ordinary mortals do each day are watched over and appreciated by a great God? And, like the widow, we can know that our small offerings are just as important in the Kingdom of Heaven, because they are given with effort and with faith and love.
Second, get connected to Ourselves. The greatest commandment tells us to love others as we LOVE OURSELVES – something that we may have lost sight of in the frantic pace of life. Many things take away our sense of self – fear of failure and for personal security, drivenness to achieve enough money, status, stuff. Knowing how much God loves us, we need to get in touch with our passions, what we are called to be in a Kingdom framework, and our generous hearts.
Third, we need to be connected to Each Other. Small groups play a big part here in offering a supportive structure within which we share and grow. To do this well we need forgiveness and lots of it. We will sometimes get hurt, feel ignored or not good enough and our instinct is to withdraw, refuse to share our love or our gifts and immediately the atmosphere becomes muddied. Instead, we need to pray for one another, spend time together and get to know people, demonstrating Christ to those we interact with, and receiving Him in return.
Fourth, connect to Creation. In Creation we see the awesome power and amazing detail of God all around us – spend 20 minutes looking at a leaf and you will be amazed at what you really see! We need to know that Creation is not just something we can use. It is sacred and it is our job to savour it, care for it and preserve it for the future.
Fifth, we must be connected to The Mission Field. It is not enough to keep the love of God to ourselves. Our church is a group of people that God has called to make a difference in Primrose and we need to consciously make an effort to be obedient to this call. Have you got a friend who needs to experience the transforming power of God in their lives? Invite them to worship or to your bible study or fellowship group! Is their some way you can serve the poor or offer your gifts to the wider community? Share it with someone in leadership and see how you can put your dreams into action!
And of course, like Jesus, who attended weddings and family meals, took trips and laughed with his friends, all of this will be interspersed with a healthy dose of Nutty Nonsense, to make sure our CONNECTion is complete!
Eventually, the lap-top will pop up an urgent request: Connect to alternate power-source immediately!! As we venture towards 2010 let’s all commit to CONNECT and see where the adventure takes us!