Saturday, 16 July 2016

Welcome service at Cornerstone, Cranbrook.

Genesis 12.1-3. , Matt 28.16-20.

Do you remember the rhyme: Here’s the church.. and here’s the steeple, open the doors and see all the people.
It doesn’t work in Cranbrook, does it – here’s the church, and here’s the people – and there is no steeple & there are no doors!

Sometimes we have to rethink what we church is.
I was once waiting for someone at a church where I was the minister. It was a very popular church for weddings, with a large steeple. As I waited my mobile rang. “I’ve found Conduit Road – but where do I go next?” She said.
“Do you see a big pointy building? That’s the church. I’m here.”

No pointy building for Cranbrook!

Other people might talk about going to a church they have belonged to all their life –where their parents were married and their grandmother was baptized as a baby.

You don’t have that sort of history here.

Or people might tell you that you have to be really sorted out to go to church – know what you believe, ready to sign on the dotted line, in your best suit & pretty well perfect.

But that’s not true – a church is just a bunch of people who are trying to live life in God’s way, and getting it wrong some of the time, or even most of the time, but being forgiven & keeping trying.

Working out what Cornerstone church is going to look like is a work in progress – like Cranbrook itself. The good news is that means there’s plenty of room for everyone to belong and be part of it.

I know that the reading we had about Abram is important to many of you here: Abram is blessed by God and told that he is blessed to be a blessing to others. Abram knew what it was like to leave a familiar place and go to a new place entirely – and he found that in that new place God was waiting for him, to bless his life and grow his family and bless other people through him. Church isn’t just about history : it’s about your future.
And the other reading we had shows us Jesus blessing his followers and sending them out to serve other people. The great line in that story is “some were doubtful”. Jesus doesn’t just want us to follow him when we’ve got life and faith sorted out- he’s happy with the people who are still working on it, still wondering, still doubtful. Church isn’t just for people who are sure: it’s for the wonderers, too.

So if church isn’t about a pointy building, or a history, or being sure – what is it?

It’s a place to belong,
                  to learn to follow Jesus
                  to grow in faith
                  to be loved by God.

As Cornerstone starts this new chapter in being a church for Cranbrook, you have, in Lythan, a minister who will help you with all those things:
  
She will help you belong
         Help you learn to follow Jesus
         Help you grow in faith
         Help you know you are loved by God
As together you continue to make this a place where everyone can belong, learn, grow and be loved.

Thanks be to God.

Amen.

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