Tuesday, 21 January 2014

We celebrate diversity - because of God!

Ultimately we celebrate because of what God has done in our lives. The diversity of this church, of any church, reflects something of the purposes and character of God. God in himself is diverse – Father, Son and Holy Spirit. And his creation is remarkably diverse - mankind, in all its shapes and sizes, shows that. God loves the differences - they reflect something of Him, His creativity and creation.

Eph 3:10 says that ‘the church displays the manifold wisdom of God’. Behind this statement is the picture of a diamond with many facets reflecting brilliant light for everyone to see. This is part of God’s sovereign plan. So when we gather and celebrate as we do today it’s because there is something of God’s salvation history before us. It’s the fulfilment of a promise – that’s why it is a prophetic thing because it means that it speaks as though God speaks. Our gathering is a speaking out – a statement, the fulfilment of massive biblical promise made centuries ago to Abraham, when God chose a man and told him that He would make him the father of many nations. We are part of the fulfilment of that and that’s why we celebrate.

In that fulfilment of salvation history we also see the great commission – God sent his Son who came and taught us to go and make disciples of all nations. Here we have a glimpse of heaven – heaven will be like our church!  Rev 7:9 says,

‘After this I looked and there before me was a great multitude that no-one could count, from every nation, tribe, people and language.’

When we eventually get there it will not just be a bunch of white people, black people, old people, cool or trendy people. It will be us - the people of God gathered from throughout the generations – the fulfilment of all things, the restoration of all things! Here we have a glimpse of heaven – a promise through the centuries fulfilled in Christ. So we can tell people that there is a way to know God and ultimately there will be a day when there will be one celebration, when every knee will bow before him. If that gets into your spirit and you lift your eyes from the challenge of it – it is an amazing thing and should give us a sense of wonder - even of awe. That God can do this – take you and me, who are very different, and bring us together in Christ! We may have some similarities, but we are different, we have completely different journeys to this point – only God can do this. So we celebrate!