Last week I was watching an episode of Hawaii Five-O, that hyper-realistic television show in which the good guys ignore almost all of the constitutional rights of everyone else and no one bats an eyelid! What caught my attention was not the fantastic plotline but a moment when the team were engaged in an operation in the penthouse apartment of the bad guy and were standing next to a glass and stainless steel railing. What amazed me was that this was exactly the same system that we have around the galleries and in the stairwell of the Church Centre.
Now I have become used to the idea of seeing familiar things in unlikely places. The supermarket in the small Spanish town where we have stayed on holiday for the past few years sells Maldon Sea Salt. A casual glance at ingredients that are available to contestants on MasterChef Australia reveals many favourites of British cuisine. This year in planning my holiday I have discovered the joys of Airbnb (other rental firms are available). The most noticeable thing about the photographs of homes in California was how many of them had the same Ikea furnishings that we have.
So it may not seem too strange to see our railings in Waikiki but somehow watching a programme that is set so far away and in such an exotic location – seeing such an obscure piece of equipment, halfway around the world – just brought home to me how connected the world is now.
Of course, we don’t have to go too far to realise that. We have those connections as part of this fellowship. One of the great joys of our church is the diversity of people that belong here. Not quite people of every nation, tribe, people and language, standing before the throne and before the Lamb (Revelation 7:9) but at least a small taste of the reality of God’s kingdom. We value every member of his kingdom and our desire is to make sure that everyone is able to contribute and play a full part in the life of the church.
One of the basic tenets of Baptist theology is that we are all priests before God, that we each have access to the Father through the Son and that we all have a responsibility to stand and represent people to God and God to the people. So we believe that we each have a responsibility to play our part in the life of the church. In January we reminded ourselves about that as we renewed our covenant of membership, reiterating again the responsibilities that we have in the body of Christ. Many of you spoke those words but are not yet members of the church. We need your voices, your energy, your spiritual insights to enable us to be what God has called us to be. We need to ensure that as a church we are enabling what you can give to be part of who we are.
One of my great passions is that everyone is able to grow to become all that God has desired them to be until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ (Ephesians 4:13). We don’t want anyone to feel that they cannot be heard or contribute to the life of the church. We will be beginning a new Discovery Course at the end of this month for people who would like to think about becoming members or who want to understand more of what the church is about. Please think about coming along to that. If you have done this course in the past but never made the commitment of membership, then please think about doing so. We need to learn from everyone.
Yours in Christ