“I am the true vine, and my Father is the vinedresser. . . Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me. I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing.” – John 15:1,4,5
How are you connected? You’ve no doubt heard before it’s not what you know but who you know that matters. This is usually used in frustration or an excuse regarding why someone advances farther and quicker than we are in sports, career, politics, etc. But being connected is deeply rooted to the very nature of faith.
The word “Connected”is not used much in Scripture, but the idea of connectedness is everywhere. The Greek word used in the New Testament, koinonia, can be translated as fellowship, participation, contribution, share(ing), and more depending on the context.
God desires a deep and abiding connection with us. In John’s gospel Jesus explains this in a myriad of ways, from describing himself as the Good Shepherd, the door to life, the bread of life, and much more. He speaks about our need to come to Him and allow Him to be with us; to abide in Him, the vine, and even eat of his flesh and drink of his blood (a graphic and poignant description of our utter need to not just do stuff for God, but have God be in us). God made us for, and keeps trying to create, connection between Him and us. He has torn down the walls of separation through the work of His son Jesus and sends His Spirit to daily and richly draw us to Him.
We see over and over again in God’s word the call to connect to each other. There are dozens of encouragements in Scripture to love, serve, forgive, care for, teach, guide, encourage, comfort, and do good to “one another.” Indeed, coming into the kingdom of God makes you part of the “body”of Christ, implying a deep, necessary, abiding and vital connection with others. As frustrated as people can make us, as hurt as we can become by the sin of others, and as hard as it is to build deep and transforming relationships, we are called over and over to be transformed so that we can connect deeply with others.
The followers of Jesus Christ are to connect deeply with the world, having “His kingdom come”into all the wide opens spaces and nooks and crannies where God’s light has yet to penetrate. Christians don’t avoid the surrounding struggles but plunge headlong into them to bring the marvelous light of Christ into the darkness of the kingdoms of this world. Those who have let God connect them to the deeply broken parts of societies and cultures throughout history have created the most inspiring stories and institutions of the Christian faith that have fought poverty, disease, violence, slavery, addictions, and oppression.
That is why we desire to connect all who come to St. Andrews first and foremost to God the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is why we’ve adjusted our Sunday schedule to allow for more opportunity to connect to each other (and want to encourage even more connection amongst our people; those here and those yet to come). And it is why we want to excel all the more in our service to each other and our community. These connections work to transform us into the image and glory of Christ. They make us, and the community around us, better. These connections create the stories and events the transform hearts, minds, souls, and whole communities. Connect with us.
God’s love to all of you,