Summary: Love is the pursuit of relationships. There is much to know about how vast God's love is and how our love for one another and others can be.
There was as we know a Hui held last Saturday here at the hall. This was a time of interaction, a time of looking at how others answered questions that were asked and answered by all present.
One thing that came out of the day was that The Salvation Army in Dunedin is still in the practise of engaging in mission, and another thing is that over the years there have been a good number of perceptions that people had and don’t think I’m stretching the point to say perceptions that all those present had regarding some part or other of The Salvation Army and possibly others attending the Hui that were not correct. That up until the Hui these perceptions had been peoples understanding of what was true but in reality their perceptions were not the truth. However we found out on the day that this is not an insurmountable thing, this was easy to overcome as we opened up to one another and shared our understandings. But how did these perceptions that were not quite accurate develop?
The point is, that it is possible for us to believe with all our heart that something is true but it is not: Here’s a case in point from history. Until about four hundred years ago, to declare that the earth was round or travelled around the sun as a dangerous thing to do, “Galileo [was tried] in 1633 [for proposing that the planets travelled around the sun and that the moon effected the earths tides] and found… "gravely suspect of heresy", [he was sentenced] to indefinite imprisonment. Galileo was kept under house arrest until his death in 1642. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galileo_affair).
Strangely enough that was the church of the time, a time when the Church had huge powers, who found him guilty. I make the point to show how at times perceptions of truth can result in barriers to THE TRUTH. What is your perception of this slide?
Our divisional commander summed up the Hui by discussing 1 Corinthians 12:12-30 (Read).
As you will see this passage is focusing on the point that Paul makes that the body, the Church is made up of many parts, back in the day, the early church comprised of Jews and Greeks as well as other gentiles, slaves and free men and women and the kicker here is that that all these people were given the same Spirit. The Holy Spirit was with them all. This is not to say that they were the perfect church, but that they had come together to be the body of Christ on earth. That as the Spirit of Christ was with them; and because of his being active in them they became more like Christ. An important thing to remember here is that many in the early church were enemies before they encountered Christ, before they were indwelt by the Spirit of Christ. As well until Christ women and men held much different statuses in society, and it is Christ who in the early church brought spiritual freedom to slaves, if you are interested in this last point read Paul's letter to Philemon. Where ever people encountered Christians life change and social change occurred.
As you will have heard from what I’ve just read in first Corinthians, about the body, of Christ, the church these parts can’t wander off from one another. In fact if the body loses any part it is not whole and is disabled in some way. Paul points out that the parts of the body that are not so presentable get special treatment, that they are given greater honour. It’s an important to remember that God has brought the body parts together into a whole, into harmony.
An interesting thing that I’d like to point out here is that The Salvation Army here in Dunedin, that the rest of the church here is not yet complete, that while we might be aiming at harmony; parts of the body that can bring that harmony are out there
somewhere in the world waiting to be introduced to God the Father, to become members of this Body. This is one of the reasons that the world we live in is not a harmonious place. The world will be more harmonious when people become part of the body of Christ. Another thought just maybe and I’ll ask you to consider this thought, ‘maybe some of us parts have chosen to be out of harmony with other parts’. I find it hard to believe but there are some out there who get a bit of a kick out of conflict.
So after what was Major Ivan’s directive going forward? Well it had to do with that last sentence in the chapter “And now I will show you the most excellent way” That way is what the way of love. This week sometime would you read 1 Corinthians 13 all of it.