Southpoint News May 25, 2017
The Road Home
Have you ever felt that horrific mixture of guilt, shame, and discouragement because you betrayed someone or something you hold dear? Do you know the power of regret? Of not being, deep down in, what you long to be, either for yourself, or others? Or is the thought that maybe you’ve failed simply too painful for you even to consider? The gospel of Jesus Christ offers us a way back home. This way is the beautiful, grace-filled waterwheel of forgiveness, confession, restoration of trust, and restoration of responsibility and intimacy. Forgiveness: The heart of the gospel is forgiveness. When we expect judgement, we receive mercy. When we expect punishment, we receive care. When we expect exclusion, we are welcomed home. God forgives us. Because God has forgiven us, we too are called to forgive one another. We are called to say, “You have betrayed me deeply. However, because God has shown me unlimited mercy in the face of my limitations, I will have mercy in the face of your limitations. I will not take vengeance on you, for you know not what you do. Instead, I will work and pray for you to have abundant life, and am willing to offer you kindness.” Without this prayer, we cannot really be free. Confession: The way back home is through confession. Confession demands we take a good long look in the mirror. Confession says, “I am saddened by the way I’ve betrayed you. I deeply regret the limitation of my love. I want to be transparent and honest. I will take responsibility for the ways I hurt you. I own what I’ve done, I am sorry, and I will seek to make amends.” Without this level of transparency, we cannot be free. If we are hiding our mistakes, denying our failures, or projecting our sins onto others, we cannot be free. Truth-telling opens us to receive the wide mercy of God. Restoration of Trust: Confession and forgiveness lay the foundation for a restoration of trust. Forgiving someone, and having your trust restored in someone, are two very different things. Restoration of trust happens slowly, over time. It is almost impossible for restoration of trust and responsibility to occur without confession and forgiveness. When the restoration of trust happens through forgiveness and confession, it opens up the possibility of a restoration of responsibility and intimacy. If you have failed to love well, feel deeply regretful, and are struggling with your own human limitations, here is the good news: In Jesus Christ, you’re forgiven. He has mercy on you for your limitations. He has taken upon himself your sins and offers you mercy. He wants you to experience his abundance, and he even now has prepared a meal for you and welcomes you home. However, he wants even more for you. He wants for you to experience deep, soul-satisfying freedom. Therefore, he engages you, and invites you into the grand grace of truth-telling, owning honestly those limitations and betrayals that haunt you. He invites you into a process of restoration so that you can experience change in your life. He invites you into a restoration of trust, intimacy, and responsibility so that one day you can grow into the person you, deep down in, long to be. This is the good news of Jesus. Thanks be to God.
– Pastor Anne Smith
Reminder: We are ALL OUT this weekend and not meeting at the Sunnyside church building! Arising out of one of our core images – the Table, which represents hospitality – it’s been a year since we Southpointers began Gathering Groups. When neighbours come together for fun, it’s often around a table. When neighbours need help, it’s those connections made at the table that spur us to “make tracks to each other’s doors”, offering the help that’s needed, or simply offering warmth and caring. Our congregation has some interesting features, with certain folks sharing connections through work with A Rocha or living in intentional communities like the Hardy household, Kingfisher Farm or A Rocha’s Brooksdale Environmental Centre, and others living in White Rock, central & north Surrey and Langley. Not all of us are actual neighbours and some really are! The intention of our Gathering Tables is to foster connections amongst us as if those who come really are neighbours: relationships deepen over time by sharing bits of our ‘real life’ with each other. The leadership model is intended to be collaborative, one of Southpoint’s favourite words! Each member is invited to envision what a Gathering time might be: a Sunday night film, a Saturday lunchtime picnic, a potluck breakfast and thoughtfully-led conversation.
4 June – Pentecost Sunday, regular service.
11 June – Regular service.
18 June – ALL OUT: Meet in Gathering Groups rather than at Sunnyside. (Also Father’s Day!)
25 June – Baptism service at Brooksdale ) 1620 192 Street, Surrey) Be thinking about picnic lunch items for yourself and to share. BYO(plates, cups, forks) to reduce the load on our Brooksdale hosts.
Let’s pray for David, Shauna, Aidan, Noah and their wider family and friends like Rhonda and Dave. Monday the 22nd was the first anniversary of Thea’s death. May God’s Spirit give them comfort in their grief and loss. We could use a reminder that Thea is impishly accompanying Jesus and our prayer is for much fruit to come from Thea’s life, not least in deepening how we travel together as bearers of God’s image.