Ephesians 2: 13-14; 18
But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far away have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
For he himself is our peace, who has made the two groups one and has destroyed the barrier, the dividing wall of hostility....For through him we both have access to the Father by one Spirit.
Romans 12: 3-8
For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.
We've got a very competitive little four year old boy. I've just spent a 15 minute car journey with him explaining that he can be different from other boys and girls without having to be better than them. I'm not sure he got it. I'm not sure many of us really get it.
We live in a social media world where we retake and filter photographs until we look just right, we post our best achievements and we tweet our triumphs. While I enjoy seeing what delicacies my 'friends' on Facebook had for lunch and appreciate their photos from their latest exotic adventure, it can all lead to the curse of comparison and unnecessary competition. We may even unintentionally, or subtly, try to outdo one another in presenting our best highlights, seeking to convince the world that our lives are pretty amazing actually.
The truth is we don't have to be better than anyone else, we don't have to prove ourselves to the world and it's OK to have an average, uneventful day where nothing happened that is likely to evoke 'likes' or 'retweets'. We are worthy, valuable and loved just as we are. Our lives have purpose, meaning and significance because of Whose we are, as well as who we are.
In Ephesians 2 Paul is at pains to explain that Jesus' work is enough. It is enough to make us right with God and it is enough to break down any barriers that stand between us and other people. We don't have to compare ourselves to others because God loves diversity and difference. We don't have to compete with anyone because we are all recipients of mercy and grace. We don't have to categorise people because Jesus' blood has washed away every barrier. We don't have to exert our superiority because Jesus' cross has bridged every divide.
We are God's family and we all have a unique and distinct place. We are Jesus' body, the church, in which every one of us has an vital part and position. Being a part of God's Kingdom brings unity, not uniformity. I need you to be you and I must be free to be me. Your dream and my dream are part of His great dream. We are members of the same 'Dream Team', and so, it's only as we 'play' together, celebrate our differences, work to our strengths and pick up those who stumble, that we will get the 'final result' that we long to see in our city and in our lives.
We look forward to you joining us this Sunday at 9.30 am, 11.30 am and 7.00 pm.