Brothers and Sisters

Last week, I spoke a little about personal holiness, and today I thought I would write on corporate holiness. 1 Peter 2:9 tells us:

“But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, in order that you may proclaim the mighty arts of him who called you out of darkness into his marvellous light.”

This of course has resonances of the promise God made to the Jewish people when he first called Abraham (or perhaps when he called to all people and only Abraham answered him). Now however, the call to be God’s chosen ones, a holy people set apart, is for all, or at least for all who heed God’s call, who repent and turn to him through the mercy offered by Christ.

This passage reminds us that all are called and all are welcome, even if not all respond. But it is also a passage that reminds us that we must not be critical and unkind to our fellow members of the Church. We are all a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation and we are called both to be holy and to recognise our familial ties to all others who proclaim Jesus as Lord and God as Father. It’s not that we cannot note or give advice when things are not being done correctly, but it is that we are all grafted into the same vine, which is Christ Jesus, and that the health of each branch affects us all, and so we should and we must care for each branch.

We are all guilty of criticising “The Methodist Church” when we see another set of requirements that call us to be still more professionalised in our response, still more administratively organised, to find still more time to ensure that everything is not just being done, but also being planned and recorded appropriately. Some days, these requirements can feel incredibly difficult, and I am so grateful to the many people in this circuit who shoulder that burden with good humour and care. It is not an obvious leap to say that this very activity of form-filling and risk assessing is an example of corporate holiness, and yet it is designed to keep us as a body on the straight and narrow, so that we can be and can be seen to be, a body of people who are doing things as well as is humanly possible and then giving that to God.

God bless

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