Monday, February 20, 2012

We Gospel

Everyone has something they struggle with. New hearts live in bodies still awaiting resurrection.

Peter ran scared of his own people. Repeatedly. Of the cross. Of Christ being for all nations not just the Jews.

What will they think?

I met with a student leader today over coffee, with Galatians 2:11-3:1 open on the table.

Some characterise Galatians as a harsh letter but no one harshly says "the Son of God loved me and gave himself for me" - those are words of worship that come from a tender heart.

In Antioch Paul was in the room. Paul doesn't cast Peter out, but reminds him again of Christ.

Paul is heart-broken and confused by Peter and the Galatians, as we might be of ourselves.

How did I just do that.... again?

The Scriptures give us a window on an face to face pastoral conversation between two apostles. One "gospels" the other. Condemning him, but not condemning him, and drawing him back to the condemned and risen Christ.

Its the old old story. Hear it again.

Can I tell myself? And will you tell me?

We're trying to build more community in church. I long for our "Open door & open fridge" to be for those outside the church as well as within.

I found myself thinking "then we can talk about Jesus over breakfast" - as if among a group of Christians we wouldn't.

I make Peter's error too. Jesus to begin, then something more superficial to continue.

Peter at Antioch. Yeah, me too.

Evangelism: talk of Jesus. With Christians - Nod, smile, and be polite.

You too? We both noticed.

The temptation is to wallow and be sin focussed. There's enough despair in the world.

Peter was sin-focussed, hence the cover-up with law.

Paul tells it better. The Peter Life is over. The Christ Life is the real life now. 
Condemned with Christ, to live by faith. Now Christ living in me. The lover and giver of himself, in me. My life is Him now! Not "Am I a sinner or a saint" but "I'm in Christ".

Can we build more explicitly Christ community? Talking would be a start, but action too. Relationships that speak of inclusiveness and safeness rather than masks and distance.

Peter didn't say gospel-denying words, he lived them.

Can we love? Can we pursue the presence of Christ by the Spirit in the ordinary and not just in worship - though there too! Can we be distinctive because He is with us and so we're actually with one another not just in the same room?

Will you care so I know I can trust you? Will you welcome me so I know I'm home? Will you love so we can know Jesus?