• Steven Marsh

A New Type of Christian: a Reflection on Job 1:1; 2:1-10, Psalm 26, Hebrews 1:1-4; 2:5-12, and Mark

Life. We are all in it together. Globally. Yet, some have and others don’t. What is faith? Why believe? The question of suffering is in the mix of faith and belief. Suffering is often not the consequence of one’s sin and virtue does not often result in happiness.

A new type of Christian is inclusive and welcoming. A community that is characterized by a new type of Christian is one that gives dignity and respect to all humans, regardless of behaviors, sufferings, and injustices all the while showing the love of Jesus Christ. We at Geneva Presbyterian Church in Laguna Woods, California include and welcome all to discover the radical claims of Jesus Christ and begin that transformative relationship with him.

An inclusive and welcoming church is one that embraces people’s brokenness, anger, hopes, and questions without demanding a legalistic adherence to a set of prescribed beliefs and practices before admittance.

Mark 10 exhorts the community of faith to address the social structures of marriage and faith which often oppress people.

Hebrews 1 depicts a spirituality which encourages people to glorify God for salvation which is achieved through Jesus Christ. It is true that our lives are often caught up in sin and sufferings. But let us not forget the sufficiency of God to meet us in our travails.

Psalm 26 lifts up the Christian mission. God’s message of salvation in and through Jesus Christ is for people to live in the integrity of their creation, celebrate their ongoing redemption, and share God’s graciousness with others.

Job’s community was destroyed, spiritually dismantled, and mission with God derailed. God’s sovereignty, human faith, and innocent suffering were forced to intersect in Job’s life experience. And the same is true for each one of us. With Job, we ask the question, “What good is faith?”

Being a congregation that is inclusive and welcoming means we focus our orthodox and apostolic faith along with our energies on community, spirituality, and mission. As a community, we create a place of “belonging.” People are loved not judged; welcomed not excluded. Our spirituality requires that we study the Bible, pray, worship, and listen for the insights and inputs of others. Our focus on community and spirituality leads us then to be “sent” people to participate in God’s mission. As “sent” people we love others, so they too can begin the journey of remembering, telling, and living the way of Jesus. The community, spirituality, and mission of any congregation are only as strong as the collective experience of its individuals.

The church does not exist to satisfy our demands as consumers. It exists to show humanity a better way to live.

Scripture readings are taken from Year B in the Revised Common Lectionary which follows the liturgical calendar and begins on the First Sunday of Advent.

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