“As we peel back the layers of Jesus’ dialogue with His disciples, we start to see Jesus zeroing in, with pin point accuracy, on the part of our lives that has huge implications for both our heads and our hearts. Jesus is talking to His disciples about the relationship between control, worry, and trust.” - Dan Le Cordier
“The most distinguishing characteristic about the early church was not their ideology or their politics. It was their love for others. They lived as those who were once again living under the rule and the reign of God, as a sign and as a foretaste of what it would be like when Christ returned.” - Jamie Freeman
“It is life changing when church becomes what it is supposed to be. Church so easily becomes about the bits and the pieces, our style, our songs, where the chairs are set up, whether the sermons are any good, whether the service meets my needs, whether there are things for me to get involved in…
But the Bible doesn’t at all talk about church like that. The church is a family to which we belong. A family that we’ve been adopted into. A family that embraces and enfolds everyone. A family that navigates the messiness of life together because Jesus is in their midst.” - Ainsley Freeman
Having considered what it looks like for God to be the light of the world, we now consider what is looks like for God to be the light in our lives. This week we take a look at Peter’s life changing interaction with Jesus and consider what it looks like for Jesus to speak words of light back into Peter’s life.
The way God’s light overcomes the darkness is punctuated and fulfilled by Jesus stepping into the world, but it is emphatically demonstrated by God’s persistent engagement and grace with humanity over the course of history. He is the one who has never let go. Not in the beginning, not throughout his covenant with Israel, not after the resurrection, not today, and he won’t let go tomorrow.
The darkness has not overcome the light because the light is ever present.
Ainsley kicks off our year together by introducing the focus area for H3O this year. She invites us to consider what it looks like for the church to be a lighthouse in our communities as we reflect on what it means for God to be the light in our world.
In this sermon, Ainsley explores how true mercy from God—and others—is a completely undeserved gift. Those who flourish in the Kingdom are not those who somehow made it happen through their own character or actions. Instead, it is those with nothing to offer who are able to inherit the Kingdom. The merciful, Ainsley explains, are those with empty hands.
In this sermon, Jed clarifies the meaning of “righteousness” as something more like restorative justice, and explores how God’s Kingdom is characterised by a reconciling form of justice. And God’s justice does not match our standards of equality. This new way of living, Jesus says, is not based upon rewards for good deeds. There is no principle of proportionality at work here, but a new kind of upside-down economics. God’s economy is an economy of grace, where God showers generosity on those who might least deserve it, and at the same time God is unfailingly trustworthy to those who have nothing left to count on, nothing to hold on to at the end of the day. God’s reign is characterized by restorative justice.