My every-day life is often so full of noise. I'm easily distracted and feel like I'm constantly spinning from one thing to the next, always just trying to keep on top of it all. But a couple of times every week I am committed to meet with a handful of people to worship, sing, pray and share. There are a hundred other ways I could choose to spend this time, so why do I choose to show up?
For me, it's two things. It's my refuge. It's a place of safety and restoration. When I walk into that room with other people filled with God's Spirit the noise fades. All the stuff I've spent so much energy working on and worrying about just doesn't hold its power anymore. This is where I rest.
I also imagine my personal growth as this slow and steady thing throughout my life. And then the meetings are like a potent fertiliser that give me this massive boost I don't get anywhere else. It's soul food. I feed off what everyone has to offer and it's always so good. It inspires and encourages me to keep going. My hope is that I bring this to the table for others too.
I come to rest and I come to give knowing I will leave full.
Kelly's thoughts above are a reflection after hearing Rob speak this Sunday. Here is a summary of what he spoke about.
Why Do We Do This?
Rob asked this question on Sunday. Why do you turn up each week? How long have you been doing this? (In the room we had people coming for 15, 22, 48 years!) What would you lose if didn't come?
The first, messy church
In the book of Acts, in chapter 2, the disciples and 3000 others were first given God’s Spirit. Verses 42-47 are about what happened next – the first church and their messy first steps. They were together, meeting every day in the temple. They shared what they had, and ate together in their homes. They were generous. It wasn't long before they were tested.
A good act
In chapter 3 of Acts, Peter and John saw a lame man begging at the temple. They had no money, but they had the Spirit – so they told the man to get up and walk, and that’s what he did! Everyone in the temple saw the man and thought that Peter and John had healed him. Peter addressed them, telling them that it was the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob who healed the man.
These first Christians were Jewish people. They had a tradition, and then, all at once, everything was different.
Think about when you were filled with the Spirit. Whatever you were before, you changed. And now, 15 years later, you might be back in a tradition. What can the Spirit do here. Look around you – what is the need, the lack? A jacket? Support? What can you give?
Now imagine that 3000 people all received the Sprit on the same day as you, just like the day of Pentecost.
Continuing with Peter and John, in Acts chapter 4, the Jewish rulers were annoyed because they were teaching the people about Jesus. They were arrested and brought before the high priest and all his family. When asked, Peter explained that they healed the man by the name of Jesus, who the priests had crucified. How bold!
What do we do?
When Peter & John were released, they were told not to teach about Jesus any more. So what did they do? They went to their friends and prayed. You can read this beautiful prayer in Acts chapter 2, verses 24-30. They acknowledge that God is the ultimate authority, not the priests. In verse 24: “You are God, who made heaven and earth and the sea, and all that is in them”. They quote the Psalms: “Why did the nations rage, And the people plot vain things?”. In verse 29 they ask for boldness: “and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word”
I don't know what you do during your week, but I know that you are surrounded by men plotting vain things. It’s easy to go with what the people around you are doing – but this prayer goes against that. Are you ready to profess the Lord, to say it’s through Jesus? To acknowledge the Lord’s authority?
Our collective attitude comes from our individual attitudes combined. What do we pray for? What do we need? Our prayer is for this group, the people in this room. Our prayer is the beginning of our tradition.