Sunday, June 04, 2006

PENTECOST: God's Jigsaw the Church

I like jigsaws. I hardly ever do a jigsaw, but when I do I like the challenge of trying to complete. But jigsaws are really annoying when a piece or pieces are missing. An incomplete jigsaw can make all the work of putting it together feel wasted. A jigsaw needs every piece to see the picture it is trying to show … and so it is with the church … the church needs every person to be the church.

God’s jigsaw the church needs every piece

Just as male needs female, rich needs poor, white needs black, so intellectuals need the simple ... The church is itself when it bridges all these gaps and tensions between people of different kinds (Frances Young, Face to Face)

Some of us think we not important – in a jigsaw every piece is important and no piece is more important than the other … every piece is required … the church is only itself when every piece is in the right place

These bridges are the interconnecting relationships and lives that join us and hold us together – like one jigsaw piece is linked to two or three other pieces. And it is the Holy Spirit who brings us together:

God’s jigsaw the church is a work of the Holy Spirit

the Spirit liberates us, that is to say, by bringing us into community: by enabling us to be with and for the brothers and sisters whom we ourselves do not choose (Colin Gunton, Theology Through the Theologians)

The Holy Spirit has placed you and me in this community – Bunyan Baptist Church – and this is sometimes hard because for all of us there are probably people here we would not choose and things about Bunyan we don’t like and the attraction of other jigsaws (meaning churches) becomes appealing. We want to be church shoppers, when God calls us to committed belonging (this is what church membership means in a Baptist church). The problem is that the church starts with God (at Pentecost), the church is held together by God (in Christ by the Holy Spirit) and the church continues in God to participate in his mission and witness to the world. God has called you to be part of his jigsaw here …

For some of us what we need to do is find where we fit in because not all jigsaw pieces join to each other and a jigsaw piece in the wrong place can distort the picture … some of us are trying to do or be too many things ... some of us are just doing the wrong thing ... and some of us are doing nothing ... when this happens the church struggles to be itself

God’s jigsaw the church is a jigsaw without edges

why might I want to say that? … because new members can always and are always being added and joined on … tiny Lucy Pellegrino this week has joined God’s jigsaw … and those of who have recently found a place to belong and believe are also part of our jigsaw. Pentecost reminds us that that in God’s jigsaw there are no finite number of pieces – 144,000 or the such like – but our task is bear witness to the wonder of God and his story that others may find a home and a family here.

God’s jigsaw the church is a picture of the face of Christ

we are the face of Christ to the world … in and through us people encounter and meet the risen Christ … the power and work of the Holy Spirit shapes and transforms us in the image and likeness of Christ … and as God in Christ is for us and the world, so God in his church, in us, calls us to always to be looking beyond our edges …