The household of God, part #1

Message for April 8, 2018
Glennon Heights Mennonite Church
Betsy Headrick McCrae
Scripture passages: Ephesians 2:13-22 and 3:14-19
The household of God, part #1
Well, friends, our time together is growing short. Two weeks from today will be
my last Sunday with you as your pastor. How will we spend our final weeks together?
We will spend them doing what we do best – worshipping the God who loves us
and caring well for each other and the world. We will do this because that is who we are
as Glennon Heights Mennonite Church. We are a well-built structure, a growing body, a
faithful outward-looking community of Jesus Christ.
This Sunday we will bless two of our little ones – Thor and Sammy. This is an
action which lets our children know how precious they are to us. We aspire to be a safe
place for our kids, a place where they are individually known and loved, where they learn
about Jesus and experience God’s deep love for them.
This Sunday we will pray for our upcoming week with Family Promise and ask a
blessing on the families and on all those who will volunteer. This quarterly hands-on
involvement with folks who are temporarily homeless keeps us grounded. We are able to
live out our faith very concretely by giving our time and our resources to help meet a
need right here in our own backyard. We do this because we follow Jesus, who is good
news for the poor.
This Sunday we will have an update from the Transition Team, this blessed group
of folks who have been working hard to find a new pastor. Then Dawn will talk to us
about leadership positions which will be coming open in the next church year. Part of
what makes us a strong congregation is the willingness of so many to take a turn in
keeping things going. We are have strong shared ownership. We are in this together.
Next Saturday evening, April 14, we will do one of the things we do best, I think:
We’ll have fun together! We will make and enjoy good music together at the farewell
concert. We’ll also have some delicious deserts. How I’m looking forward to this event!
Having fun together keeps our life blood flowing. It keeps us healthy and happy.
Then next Sunday, April 15, during the worship service, we will bless Nathan and
commission him for service as your interim pastor. Nathan will competently and
creatively “hold down the fort” until your new full-time pastor arrives on the scene. It is
a good and faithful thing to call out and nurture pastoral leadership from within the body.
I know that the Holy Spirit will work in and guide this relationship.
Then finally on April 22 we will stock up on tissues (speaking personally) and
enter into a time of goodbyes. That Sunday we’ll have a service of blessing and sending.
One era will end. And though you may not yet believe it, you will be ready for a new one
to begin. This household of God is built upon a firm foundation. It will stand.
The scripture passages that we read this morning from the letter to the Ephesians
speak about building and growing the household of God. God’s household in every
place, including our household here at Glennon Heights, is made up of folks who have
differences. We don’t all think alike. We don’t necessarily believe exactly the same
thing. But these differences don’t keep us apart. Christ “has broken down the wall of
hostility that used to separate us.” Instead of hostility, there is peace or shalom, a sense
of well-being or wholeness that gathers up all the disparate pieces, making us one body.
Here at Glennon Heights we aren’t enemies, thank God, but we aren’t all the same. We
shouldn’t expect to be the same or to think alike. This is difficult sometimes, but it
doesn’t keep us apart. We are, with our differences, all part of God’s household, God’s
family, and we need each other. We honor and respect each other. We have chosen to
love each other just as God loves us. We have chosen and need to keep choosing to trust
each other’s goodwill. Hold onto and cherish that thought.
Obviously we aren’t in this alone. “We are God’s house, built on the foundation
of the apostles and the prophets. And the cornerstone is Christ Jesus himself.” Christ is
the most important and determinative part of our foundation, providing its orientation.
The church is God’s dwelling, not simply by virtue of being a community of strangers
coming together, but because it is created in Christ. “We who believe are carefully
joined together, becoming a holy temple for the Lord.”
We are carefully joined together. Our life together as a believing community is
not haphazard. No, it is something that is knit together with purpose. The Holy Spirit is
involved in the process. Through the Spirit we have access to an inexhaustible source of
power and resources. The wealth of God’s glory is opened up to us. Because this is true,
we never have to worry about circling the wagons to protect what we have. In this
community and in all of God’s temple, there is always room for more. The doors are
wide open. Creative change is taking place. God’s house is always under construction
and God’s resources will never ever be depleted.
God’s house, our house, is permanently under construction but at the same time, it
is – we are – standing firm. With the Holy Spirit’s help, and because of Christ’s presence
with us, we are rooted and grounded in love. That is the image that I’d like you to carry
with you through this time of transition. You, dear Glennon Heights Mennonite Church,
are rooted and grounded in the love of God and your love for each other. You are
strengthened in your inner being with power through God’s Spirit. You are a vessel filled
to overflowing with God’s presence. And you can depend on and support one another in
honest relationship. Listen to and take to heart these words from Ephesians chapter 4:
“But speaking the truth in love, we must grow up in every way into him who is the head,
into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and knit together by every ligament with
which it is equipped, as each part is working properly, promotes the body’s growth in
building itself up in love.”
My beloved congregation, the future may seem uncertain but there is nothing to
fear. You are a faithful community of Jesus Christ. Worshipping the God of Life.
Caring well for each other and the world. Sharing yourselves and your resources freely
and with joy. “For this reason I bow my knees before God, our Creator, from whom
every family in heaven and on earth takes its name. I pray that, according to the riches of
God’s glory, God may grant that you may be strengthened in your inner being with power
through his Spirit, and that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith, as you are
being rooted and grounded in love. I pray that you may have the power to comprehend,
with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the
love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, so that you may be filled with all the fullness of
“Now to the One who by the power at work within us is able to accomplish
abundantly far more than all we can ask or imagine, to this God be glory in the church
and in Christ Jesus to all generations, forever and ever. Amen.”

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