Rector's Blog: Recognizing God Here and Now
I believe in God. I believe that God is living and active – at work in this world, at work in my life, and work in this community, and in your home. Christianity insists on this, actually. Our shared faith emphatically claims not only that God “exists”, but that God is present here and now in our life. We say that God is right this moment doing the work of recovery, redemption, and reconciliation.
So what does that look like? I mean, we can say these big lofty things about how God exists, God loves you, God is present, God is working, but what does it look like in real life?
The Church didn’t become the Church until the Holy Spirit showed up. Before then, they were just an assemblage of beautiful Jesus-loving misfits. But God’s Spirit showed up and the Church happened. The presence of God is part of how we define ourselves as Church. And not just the presence of God, but the Spirit, the Breath of God.
We’re often tempted to think of a building when we think of Church, or of an organization or institution. And, yes, all those things tend to be part of our church life. That being said, our Scriptures refer to the Church as Christ’s body and say our very breath is the Spirit of God. Church, then, is a living, moving body that exhales God’s love and blessing, and acts as God’s hands and feet in the world. There is movement and action in this imagery – there is growth and dynamism. If we’re God’s body and God’s Spirit is our breath, then we are meant to be God’s presence in the world.
And yes, of course God shows up outside the Church. No question. But we believe that God shows up for the world in unique and powerful ways inside our church community. Doesn’t it make sense for us to be attentive to that? When we recognize how God shows up in our midst here, we are beginning to understand how we are meant to be God’s presence in the world.
What I want you to know about Redeemer's new Vision Statement is that it isn’t simply aspirational: It is a recognition of how we already see God in our midst, and how we hope to live out God’s presence here and in our neighborhood.
Our vision of a worshiping community that is United, Growing, Inspired, and Sent is founded in our belief that God is already uniting us, and so we have the capacity to be a place of unity for others; that God is already helping us to grow spiritually and expand our sense of how we are meant to reflect God’s presence in the world; that God is already inspiring us daily; that God is already sending us out to love boldly, extravagantly, and with great courage.
If you know Redeemer, you probably already see this happening. Seriously. Think about what you love about this church. We’re going to talk more about our Vision in the weeks to come, but I want us first to recognize that it’s not about us becoming something else: It’s about us living and breathing into what we already are. It’s about how we incarnate God’s presence in each other’s lives and in the lives of our neighbors.
A lot of people have asked me, “How do I fit into the Vision Statement?” We’re going to talk about that next week. Promise. But first I ask you to read it again and ask yourself where you already see God living and active in this church. Ask yourself where you already see the seeds of this Vision taking root, where you see our church as United, as Growing, as Inspired, as Sent. This is the beginning of how we see ourselves as God’s presence in this world. This is the living out of our Believing in God.
The Rev. Philip DeVaul