Scripture: Matthew 12:46-50
This Sunday we focus on the core value that is most visible and costly in our congregation: Diversity.
Many of us travel past dozens of congregations on our way to worship each Sunday. All of us could choose to belong to a more familiar and comfortable Christian community. It is a longing for healthy and holy multi-ethnic and multi-cultural Christian community that has drawn almost every one of us to the Grove.
Our shared life together is miraculous. We are the church that should have died, but didn’t. We are the church that shouldn’t be, but is. We are a ‘but God’ congregation and our demographics are a foretaste and a sign of the triumphant church.
But no one is saying that it’s easy. Or comfortable.
Our life together is beautiful and it is also messy and imperfect and painful at times. Our life together requires great humility and sacrifice. If we desire more than the appearance of diversity, but a living authentic community where each person is accepted as they are and supported with truth and grace as they are made new in Christ–then we have to have right expectations of ourselves and our brothers and sisters and the cost of a commitment to a deep and rich life-giving diversity.
It’s going to be a real talk Sunday. Because I know that God is growing a vibrant healthy diverse church here and it’s easy to celebrate the new life that comes with that growth. But we have to be mature disciples who understand that growth cannot happen without change, and change is inherently uncomfortable and unsettling. We have to be wise enough to understand there is no new life without the pain and risk of birth. And we have to be shrewd enough to know that everything valuable comes at a cost.
We cannot stay just the same and also become new in Christ. We have renew our minds in Christ and let Jesus radically reshape our understanding, even and especially of what is most sacred and precious to us. In gospel of Matthew, Jesus shocks everyone when he radically redefines family. As we consider our commitment to diversity, we are going to start there.
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