I hope you have been encouraged as much as I have by the many different contributors to our online services over the summer. It’s been good in so many ways.
Firstly, I have enjoyed seeing lots of the FCC family onscreen! These last five months I have missed you! Life groups have been just that – a source of life. But these last few weeks we have been reminded that we are all part of something bigger. As Caroline noted last week, Hebrews 10:25 says “Do not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encourage one another….” We may not have been able to meet in person, but seeing others continue in their faith encourages us to keep walking and enriches our fellowship together.
Secondly, it has been wonderful to see the treasures deposited in you as you have shared them with us in a variety of ways, providing practical insights, provocation and challenge to us all. That’s the outworking of verse 24 of that same passage: “And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds…” I have certainly found your insights causing me to reflect again on the Psalms and to see how my life is mirrored in them.
Thirdly, it has been great to see the creativity and diversity there is amongst us. I believe these are key building blocks of God’s character and creation and he delights to see them at work in us, his people. I’ve loved the different way each group has interpreted the brief and the variety of styles and contributions in the services. I hope, it’s been as life-giving to you as it has to me. I know that some of you have found yourselves well outside your comfort zone, and yet you have still contributed what you have. My prayer is that having done it once, you will be encouraged to step out again! We need the variety of each other’s experience to shape us to become more like Christ.
Finally, it has been so good to see the diversity of spiritual gifts at work in the services. Some have brought pastoral exhortations, others have taught, some have reflected the heart of the mercy extender and others the passion of the evangelist. For me, this has been a clear example of “When you come together, each of you has a hymn, a word of instruction, a revelation, a tongue or an interpretation…” which is vital for the body to “build itself up in love” (1 Corinthians 14:26 and Ephesians 4:16). Let’s continue to function in our different gifts – not comparing or competing with one another – but instead using whatever God has given us for the good of the whole.
In this strange time for the world, may God continue to reveal to us the treasure we carry, enable us to value the riches of grace in one another, and give us the confidence to share what we have with others, both inside and outside the church.