Defying Gravity Part 4: We Not Us
On Sunday 21st February at our morning service, we continued our series 'Defying Gravity' with a talk called Connecting Not Isolation. In this blog you will find a summary of the talk and then some questions and reflections for you to think through on your own or to discuss in your small group.
If you would like to listen to the talk on-line, please click here.
We used a youtube clip from the film Martian at the start of our service.You can watch that by clicking here.
Talk Notes and Summary
There is something about us that means our natural inclination is to help others when we see them in trouble. There is something in human nature that leans towards ‘we’ rather than ‘me’. But there are also gravitational pulls that can pull us in a different direction, that pull us towards thinking ‘me’ not ‘we’. Busyness is one of those gravitational pulls and might be one of the strongest, but there are others – rush, hurry, materialism, money, safety.
In churches the same things are true. We can get pulled into thinking about me – about what I like, about what I want, about what suits me best.
The story of the Good Samaritan in Luke’s account of Jesus’ life in the Bible is a story about ‘me’ versus ‘we’ thinking. You can find that story in Luke Chapter 10 verses 25 to 37. You can read it by clicking here.
This is a story about two people who let gravitational forces pull them away from their natural inclinations and who thought ‘me’ not ‘we’ and a third unlikely candidate who defied gravity and stopped to help.
The Priest and the Levite (teacher) both pass by. These are people who you would expect to have known better, but they were thinking ‘me’. And if you were in the mode of ‘me’ thinking to walk on by was the right decision. They were thinking about themselves and what was safest for them and walking on by was just the right thing in that regard.
The Jews and Samaritans hated each other, so why did the Samaritan stop? It was because he was thinking ‘we’ not ‘me’. Jesus told this story because he wanted to shift people’s focus, and he deliberately chose the scenario and the people in the story to shock everyone – to make them sit up and take notice.
And he says “Go and do likewise”. He is shocking his audience and he is saying unless you are prepared to think ‘we’ not ‘me’ then you aren’t doing very well as a God person and you certainly won’t do well as a Jesus follower.
Jesus says love God, love people that’s what it is all about and loving people means loving people who might be difficult to love. Jesus is saying think ‘we’ not ‘me’.
This isn’t just about doing this as individuals, this is what a church should be like. As we have been discovering in this series there are gravitational forces that pull us towards what we like, there are forces that pull us towards doing church for church people, there are forces that make us think ‘me’ not ‘we’. But when we succumb to those forces we are drifting away from the kind of church God intends for us to be.
So how can we make sure we don’t drift?
Firstly we need to keep reminding ourselves of why we exist, the mission Jesus has given us to seek and to save the lost and we need to keep reminding ourselves when we see slippage. Gravity is a really strong force and it is the same with these things that pull us off track, they are strong and so we need to help one another. We need to commit and recommit to this wonderful and amazing and glorious and beautiful and challenging and inspiring God given thing called the church.
We need to approach it with passion, because the local church is the hope of the world.
We need to participate and there are lots of ways we can do that - pray, serve, give.
Finally we need to pray.
There is no greater endeavour that we can give ourselves to than the local church – the body and bride of Jesus. It is the single greatest endeavour of our lives – it changes things, it lifts people up, it makes a difference, it help us and helps others, it is the holder of the life changing message of a crucified and resurrected saviour and when we give ourselves to it we are joining with others in the greatest thing.
Questions for Reflection
1. Can you think of some real life “good Samaritan” examples? When have you done that for someone else, or someone else has done it for you?
2. Do you agree that this is our natural inclination – to help others?
3. What are the gravitational forces that pull you away from doing that?
4. What are some of the gravitational forces that pull churches are from doing that?
5. What do you find shocking about the story of the Good Samaritan? Do you agree that Jesus’ listeners would have been shocked?
6. What do you find challenging about the story?
7. Do you agree that the local church is the single greatest endeavour we can give ourselves to? How have you been challenged to step up your contribution to it?