Last Sunday (Sept. 23), we asked Whose image do you reflect? We used a mirror to help us see that a mirror simply reflects what it is closest to. As Genesis 3 opened up, we noticed that Adam and Eve were closest to the serpent and that their actions reflected a different image than their maker – they were not close enough to God to reflect God’s image. Like Adam and Eve, we all have “serpents” in our lives that we get too close to. Not necessarily “evil” things, but things that bit by bit become what we reflect.
The Good News in Genesis 3 – and the Good News of Jesus Christ – is that God is not done with us. Like the reflection of a mirror can change, so too can the image we project. Even better, God comes looking for us in Jesus Christ, just as God came looking for Adam and Eve in that first garden – “Where are you?” God wants to draw near to us. Our sermon ended reminding us that Jesus is still on the move trying to get closer to us. And the ministries of the church and our spiritual practices are some of the ways that God does that.
What follows in this post are some of those ministries and practices by which we might draw near to God or discover that God is drawing near to us.
- Fellowship and Friendship. How many of us have been impacted by the friendship, kindness, or support of a person at Saint Andrews? Doing my doctoral work years ago, so many people talked about experiencing God through friendships and relationships. God draws near to us through the people that are placed in our lives. They often are the hands, the feed, the heart, and even the voice of Jesus. Perhaps God is drawing near in the people that are around you – or the people of SAPC.
- Helping and Caring for others. Throughout scripture we see a concern and even a mandate to help and care for others. SAPC does this both for those who are part of our church family and for those who don’t even know that we are here. We are faithful in this and there are plenty of opportunities to do this at SAPC. Helping and caring for others is another way that we draw near to God. Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said, “just as you did it to one of the least of these… you did it to me.”(Mt. 25:40)
- Scripture. Imagine a relationship in which no one ever spoke. It wouldn’t be much of a relationship, would it? In Scripture we encounter God’s words to us. Whether it is God’s story, or encouragement, or correction, or guidance, in the pages of scripture God speaks, and God draws near.
- Worship and Prayer. Scripture isn’t just static words on a page. It is also the living and active and dynamic ways that God is present with us. As such, it is the foundation of our corporate worship and private prayer. Dietrich Bonhoeffer says it like this, in prayer “we ponder the chosen text on the strength of the promise that it has something utterly personal to say to us for this day and four our Christian life… We read God’s Word as God’s Word for us.” When our worship and prayer are rooted in scripture, they are practices in which God speaks and draws near.
Of course, there are countless other ministries of the church and spiritual practices that God has given to us. These are just the start; if you would like more, please call or email your pastors. We would love to help you discover God drawing near to you. Also, please let us know how these ministries and practices work for you, how God has drawn near to you and you more vibrantly reflect his image.