We were made to belong...
From the moment we are born, we need a family, we need to belong in a community of people.
Belonging is a normal and natural part of human life, it is the way God made us. The family of St. Luke’s is about so much more than just “Sunday at church”.
Why do I need to belong?
Belonging is a normal and natural part of human life, it is the way God made us. When the family is dysfunctional, we suffer damage - sometimes carry the scars, or even the open wounds, for the rest of our lives. Before God is anything else, he is a Father, and He made us to be part of His family - to be His sons and daughters.
Why don’t I feel like I belong?
We find it hard to respond to the love God offers. Sometimes it is because of the damage we have suffered, but more often it is because of our fear and selfishness, that we run away. When we do this, we cause ourselves even more pain. It is all because we do not understand - God is for us - not against us!
Determined to break through the vicious circle of guilt and fear, God sent His own son, Jesus, to show us what it means to live as a real human being; as son of God. So Jesus did it, lived in freedom, loved people like no-one has ever done before, walked through a world of chaos and violence with laughter in His heart, and love in everything He did. The problem with that kind of life is that it drives the power-mad and the wicked crazy. So they killed Him. He had done nothing wrong, but they killed Him anyway...
How does that help me?
The brilliant thing is that God knew they would kill Jesus, and as He died, not deserving it, God took your guilt and ours, put it on Him, so when He died He carried that guilt into the pit of death and left it there. All we have to do is ask Him to include our guilt and failure in the burden that He carried, and receive the forgiveness He offers. Anyone who does this becomes a Christian. So being a Christian is about belonging - belonging to Jesus and then to His body on earth - the church.
But belonging is not an accident, it is the result of joining.
Yes, but how?
Relationship is the key. There are many ways to begin relationship with Jesus. Whichever way we start, if it is to work, it must include a personal faith in Him. He calls us into a circle of friendship made up of God, the Father who loves us, Jesus, the son who died and rose again for us, and the Holy Spirit, whose life task is to make us like Jesus.
A Prayer of Faith
Here is a prayer that expresses faith in God...
Father God, here I am. I am not perfect. I have done many things wrong - I have let myself down, let down my family and friends. I have let you down. I am a sinner. Just as I am, I give myself to you. Jesus Christ, they say you died for me. I believe it. I give you all my sin, guilt, failure and stupidity. Thank you for dying in my place. Thank you for forgiving me and making me clean. I open myself to you. Come in now, as my king, saviour and friend. I know I need all the help that you can give me. So I may have the power to live the way I should, please fill me with your Holy Spirit. Holy Spirit, I receive you now as the gift of God. Thank you, God, for hearing my prayer. Amen.