Invitation to relationship
I thank my God every time I remember you. In all my prayers for all of you, I always pray with joy because of your partnership in the gospel from the first day until now…
Philippians 1:3-5 ( NIV)
I have sometimes had an image of the apostle Paul as being like an itinerant preacher, a solitary person who travelled around talking about Jesus to people. Although he obviously knew other Christians, he could appear to be someone who had no real roots or ties to any place or anyone. Thus, he would, I wrongly thought, travel around wherever he felt like and make temporary and superficial relationships with people for the short amount of time he was there, only to move on and do the same thing in a new location.
However, the header scripture above shows us that nothing could be further from the truth. We see here deep bonds of love between Paul and those he was parted from. Paul was in prison far away from those he longed to see in Philippi, and we see the deep impact the people from Philippi had made on Paul.
The more time has gone on, the more God has shown me the significance of relationships. You’re probably familiar with the phrase ‘no man is an island’; well God intended that we would not be ‘islands’, working independently with no interaction with others. He instituted marriage, family life and congregations for us to be a part of. He also values relationships so much that he wants us to be in a deep, intimate relationship with him.
Here at Grace Communion International we value the ‘international’ part of our name, as we have deep bonds with our brothers and sisters around the world. Far from being independent Christians, we know we are part of a wonderful tapestry God is making through us, as well as with our brothers and sisters in other denominations.
We also value the communion made possible through the grace of God: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit dwelling together in perfect love and harmony. And this wonderful Triune God invites us to join him in this incredible relationship.
Father, thank you for the example of relationship you show us. Thank you for the relationship you call us to with you, as well as the relationships we have with one another. Please help us to value relationships as much as you do. In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Study by Anthony Dady
About the writer:
Anthony Dady is a Minister in Grace Communion International and is the Regional Pastor for Wales, the Midlands, and Northern England.
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