Belonging to God through faith in Jesus Christ is a celebration. It’s a celebration of life and redemption and real community. Here’s what we mean:
We believe that God created all the universe out of a singular purpose. God’s nature is to be in relationship – and God’s way of relating is pure, unconditional love. In the same vein, you were created essentially as an expression of that love. You were created to be in relationship with God – and with God’s creation. Your life is a celebration; and your life with God in the faith given you by Jesus Christ is everything God hopes for you.
The reality of life in a free universe is that there are lots of things that can get in the way of our relationship. We get broken down. We can make lousy choices. We can exclude God. Events and people acting maliciously can break the bond we have with God. We can get lost. God doesn’t let go. The whole point of Jesus bearing the presence of God among us – and the cross on which Christ gave himself for us – is that God will stop at nothing to recover us. Make certain we don’t stay lost. We wind up back in God’s arms. In loving relationship again.
The Bible says that we are made in God’s image. No, it doesn’t mean that God has a chin mole the same place you do. It means that we are relational beings, just like God. We are set in the world to manage things in behalf of God and to establish God’s relationship with all things. That also means that we are made for community.
No community completely matches God’s perfect love – but church is the redemptive home where we are called to work on in. It’s where our response to diversity and conflict is not to hide or do battle – but to learn forgiveness and acceptance and respect. To practice the kind of love that breaks down walls of hostility that are so easily built between people and groups. Church is for bringing people together. When it works, it can be the start of something that can change the world.