Did you know that St Barnabas has a mission statement, which appears on our website and on the wall inside our church? It states, “We are called by God to see Christ in all persons, grow in faith and live in joyful fellowship with one another.” It’s a good mission statement, because Christ is at the center of it. The statement begins with a call by God to see “Christ in all persons.” However, before you see Christ in others, first you have to see Christ in yourself. To do that you need to know who Christ is, and the best way to do that is to cultivate a regular and faithful life of prayer and worship within the Church.
We sometimes call the Church the Bride of Christ, to signify the deep and mutually giving relationship between the two. It’s hard to honor one without the other. If you have friends who are married, and they invite you over, do you say, “I only want to see one of you and not the other?” Likewise, if we want Christ in our lives but not his Church, we are not honoring the special and loving relationship between the two of them. If you want to be serious about the call from God, then ask yourself, “will I find God outside of church?” The answer is yes, but only partly. It’s like standing outside a restaurant and watching the people inside dining. It doesn’t cost anything to look, but afterwards you go home hungry.
To be faithful to Christ means to be faithful to the Church. If you want others to see Christ in you, let them see your love and faithfulness to Jesus and to the Church. That’s what people saw in the disciples, because Jesus touched their lives and drew them closer to God and made them the apostles of the good news. Of course, they were human and not perfect: they scattered at the crucifixion, but later regrouped and built up the Church of which we are now members.
The final part of our mission statement states that we are to “live in joyful fellowship with one another.” That’s an apt description for any church. Does it describe our own? The early disciples gathered in the temple to pray and increase in strength and unity. With Christ at their center, they were able to grow in love and “live in joyful fellowship.” Through their shared lives and prayer, people saw Christ in them.
Will people see Christ in you?
With every blessing