Today’s sermon is talking about the WITH-NESS of God. At Christmastime we look forward to the coming of Emmanuel, “God With Us.” And the implication is that we need to be WITH those around us, connecting with them.
That’s why I love what Rohadi Nagassar says over at his website about thriving in a post-Christian world:
…connect people based on geography. The power of the neighbourhood–of proximity–cannot be replicated and is the very foundation of incarnation: the Word made flesh whom moved into the neighbourhood. I’ve had conversations with mega-church pastors who legitimized commuting as an asset because driving 25 minutes to a small group demonstrated deep commitment. That might be true, but it utterly devalues the value of neighbourhood and is in many ways the antithesis of incarnation. Jesus literally meant, love thy literal neighbour literally next door. Literally. Combining people based on postal code may be a powerful exercise to create groups that are centered in the same place. This idea, however, requires the church to process idea #1, and indeed value the very neighborhood it gathers in as a fundamental building block.
How are we moving into the neighborhood?