Relationships Matter

Canterbury Cathedral - Accessed from http://www.sxc.hu/photo/818434
Remember the song, "Here is the church, here is the steeple, open up the doors and see all the people"?  I still enjoy doing the hand motions along with this song as I sing along with my children.

This song gives a clear message - The Church IS the people.  Another truth is blatantly clear - If you go to church, you will run into people (hopefully!)  

Read the gospel accounts of Jesus hanging out with people.  Who did he hang out with?

religious people
people who don't care about religion
people who had questions
people who thought they had answers
people who thought they had it all
people who had nothing
marginal people
good - hearted people
hard - hearted people
healthy people
hurting people
ordinary people

Chances are, these people are in YOUR church!

How we interact with one another is central to the kingdom of God.  Relationships matter!

Even when we disagree with one another.  Especially when we disagree with one another, relationships matter!

Much like our churches today, the Corinthian church was dealing with some heavy disagreement and division.  Paul reminded them that God is the source of their lives(1 Corinthians 1:30), and that believers are to boast, not in our own power, but in the power of God.  Earlier in the letter, Paul encourages believers to be "united in the same mind and the same purpose" (1 Corinthians 1:10).  I don't believe Paul was suggesting that the people were going to agree on everything, or that they were even going to be in agreement on the "big issues" of their day.  Rather, agreement that the source of life and grace, peace and love, is God alone.
Putting disagreements aside, and instead focusing on how we relate with one another is more important than coming to 100% agreement on the issues of our day.  
The fact of the matter is that our churches need to be places where all people are invited into relationship with the living God, regardless of how we feel about them, or how they live their lives, because we remember that God is the source of grace, forgiveness, salvation, and life itself.  Not us.

How do you relate to people in your church?  How about the surrounding community that your church serves?  

I ask myself on a daily basis, "have I related with others in genuineness and Christ-like love?"

How about you?

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