NOTE FROM PASTOR J R FOR MAY 18, 2014
If you have been in worship on Wednesday nights you know I have been teaching from I Peter 2:9-10 which says, “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession, that you may declare the praises of him who called you out of darkness into his wonderful light. Once you were not a people, but now you are the people of God; once you had not received mercy, but now you have received mercy.”
Well this passage just happens to be the assigned lectionary Epistle scripture reading for this Sunday. It is a wonderful passage that can change our lives for the good; if we will believe it, adhere to and live it. While it is very refreshing to hear that we are the chosen people, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s special possession” … this is not just a feel good passage. When Peter wrote this passage, he was trying to fortify these Christians in their faith and enable them to remain steadfast in their Christian commitment; two things that most of us seem to struggle with.
At Covenant we do a pretty good job of teaching about the unconditional love of God without the guilt of religion. However, I think at this juncture in the life our church we must begin to pivot toward building disciples. It’s not enough to know that we are “a chosen people, God’s special possession”, … there is a reason for being those things. It is so that “we may declare the praises of Him who called us out of darkness into the God’s marvelous light.”
Practically speaking that means we have to recognize that Covenant doesn’t have a ministry; it is ministry. As God’s chosen people we do not have a mission, we are the mission. That means Covenant as a church and we as it’s people must become a “go-to” congregation rather than a “come-to” congregation. There are many staggering statistics nationally I could quote; but how do these affect us at Covenant: Center Point has hundreds of people that do not attend church? Are we going to them? Within a 5 mile radius of our church there are hundreds of LGBT that have been had terrible experiences in church and need to know of God’s unconditional love for them? Are we going to them? In this area of the city there are many, many people who have been disenfranchised by the churches they have grown up in. Are we going to them? In the eastern part of Birmingham, there are all manner of people who have no church background at all and need to hear the good news of God’s love, forgiveness and acceptance. Are we going to them?
It’s quite simple: at Covenant our vision is to be “An inclusive community of faith – Offering Hope + Showing Faithfulness + Sharing Joy.” That means we cannot afford to become secure in our congregation – giving all of our attention to ourselves and forsaking the evangelistic call to go into tall the world and preach the Gospel. After all, that’s why we are “A Chosen People, God’s own possession that we might show forth the praises of God who has called us out of darkness into his marvelous light.”
Join us for worship on this Casual Sunday at Covenant. The message is titled, “A Chosen People.” Hopefully we will learn more about what it really means to be “God’s own possession” The sermon will be based on I Peter 2:4-10.