The Gospel is at the Center
Marriage is my goal. Warm, loving, DWF, 42, ND, NS, seeking soulmate in San Francisco or North Bay for lifetime. T-shirt and jeans SAM, 35, 5’8”, romantic, honest gentleman seeking attractive, NS, n/drugs SA/WF, 25-35. These were gleaned from two pages of want ads for relationships the same way one might shop for a used car.
It is easy for us to gather with other folks in our congregation around a common interest, struggles, and lifestyles. However, to allow anything other than the gospel to sit at the center of our relationship is to deny our identity and calling to be the people of God. Although Paul, Priscilla, and Aquila shared the same trade of tent-making, the primary basis of their relationship together was the partnership they shared in the gospel of Christ.
The world already has no end of drug abuse and support groups, hobby clubs, childcare cooperatives. People can look until they find the right group of folks they want to be with, and they can leave anything when they’re not satisfied. But we have been sought out and chosen by God, called first to God, and then to each other. God does the choosing, not we; and often, we screw our eyes at some of God’s choices! Yet, here is our witness to the world—that we, who did not choose to belong in the same family with each other (nor can we choose to leave!), can be reconciled together and love one another.
—Ms. Susie Wong
- What kinds of folks do you hang out with?
- What do you do and talk about when you’re with your friends?
- When do you share with others about discipleship issues in your life? In church only?
- In what church activities and settings do you gather with those unlike yourself? How does the gospel sit at the center of these times together?
How Do I Act?
- Reflect on the advantages of gathering in “mixed groups” for teaching and discipleship times (married and singles, young and old, etc.)
Arrange to have a get together of your friends and family with another friend and their friends and family who are from a different group than yours.
- Read through the gospel stories and list the kinds of people Jesus welcomed. Discuss how the make-up of your church is different and why. Brainstorm ways that you too can welcome those whom Jesus welcomed.
- Identify some people in your church whom you would not have “chosen.” Pray for them daily this week and for yourself also, that God’s love may overcome your prejudice.