the terra periculosa grace last night was really wonderful! the words mean dangerous ground. in the service we were reflecting on one of our grace ethos words 'engage' by looking at the book of acts. it looked amazing with a box in the centre that was opened out later in the service, barrier tape and maps everywhere. the service outline and relevant bits and pieces are appearing and will appear in the grace archive here. it feels like we'll be chewing over this service for quite a while and it was a great follow on from last month where we were also thinking about engaging.
in acts the holy spirit comes and there's a verse that talks about the ripple effect from jerusalem, judea, samaria, ends of the earth that will happen when she does. but it's clear that for the disciples it took quite a while to catch on that god might have come for all flesh and not just the jewish converts in jerusalem. we explored 5 passages that were rippling out points and tried to reflect on what the equivalent challenges might be for us. indeed what is the spirit saying to us in grace?
(if you are interested in this idea or theme i cannot recommend highly enough a book by asian theologian amos yong who is the holy spirit. it's an easy read and is quite brilliant. it looks at acts and luke and unpacks the radical nature of the holy spirit. add that together with prophetic jesus prophetic church by luke johnson and you will get excited i guarantee.)
John baptized with water but in a few days you will be baptized with the Holy Spirit.
I will pour out my Spirit on all people - your sons and daughters will prophesy.
The Jewish believers were amazed that the Holy Spirit had been poured out on Gentiles too.
God is Here
His Spirit is with us
Thank you for the gift of the Holy Spirit of Jesus
Who was there at Pentecost
Poured out on the disciples
Poured out in Jerusalem
in the upper room with power
with the Jews from every nation hearing in their own languages,
Peter preaching the resurrection of Jesus from the dead,
healing the lame man,
confronting the powers of empire and domination.
Poured out in Judea
birthing a new community in mission gathering in homes,
rippling outwards into the surrounding areas,
living a new life of praise, joy and generosity,
sharing possessions and following the way of the upside down Kingdom of God.
Poured out in Samaria
in a wave of persecution provoked by Stephen
on Philip the Greek Jew who took the risk of going to Samaria
who sensed God might be at work in the despised heretics
on the excluded Eunuch reading Isaiah the prophet
Poured out to the ends of the earth
On Peter as he dared break the rules to eat with Cornelius and saw you fill the Gentiles
With Paul dazzled by your resurrection appearance called to the outsiders
With Simeon, Lydia, the Philippian jailer, Priscilla and Aquila and the women and men leading the new communities of the Spirit multiplying out along the trade routes of the Empire
- the emerging global community of the Way!
So we join the song of heaven, saying
Holy holy holy
Lord God Almighty
Heaven and earth are full of your glory
Hosanna in the highest
At the heart of this new community of the Spirit was a gathering round a meal
sharing bread and wine,
remembering the life death and resurrection of Jesus.
We break this bread to remember the body of Christ of which we are part.
We drink this cup to share in the new relationship with God made possible by Jesus’ death on the cross.
Pour out your Holy Spirit on these gifts of bread and wine
that they may be for us the body and blood of Christ.
Pour out your Comforter on us
to lead us out of comfort into terra periculosa
to people and places beyond our horizons
to cross borders and boundaries
to lead us to the least and the outsider.
This Spirit is poured out on all flesh
and testifies with our spirit that
Christ has died
Christ is risen
Christ will come again
So come to the table
with the disciples in Acts,
with disciples in Christian communities down the ages,
with disciples in homes, houses and churches
in cultures, contexts and countries round the world.
Break bread and eat together,
Devote yourself to the apostles teaching,
Share all that you have with one another
and with those who are needy,
And do so with joy and generosity!