Sunday Service 25th July 2021
This week we are continuing to explore 1 Thessalonians, (5: 12-28), and considering the theme of Authentic Church.
I will explore two key themes from this week’s sermon that both tie in with the Bible passage.
The first is true holiness. I was assisted by Rowan Williams' book Being Disciples (2016, London: SPCK), and inspired by verse 23 of our passage - see the 'Verse For The Week' on page 2.
Sanctification is to make holy. I grew up with a false idea of what true holiness is all about. True holiness is not about being perfect (as I thought). The mark of a truly holy person is treating other people well. The truly holy person will (mostly) be affirming,
supportive, loving and unafraid to enter messy situations in order to help and support others and to reveal God in that messiness. Similarly a holy church does all these things for its church members and the wider community.
The second theme is releasing the Spirit, taken from the verse 19: “Do not quench the Spirit.” In this vein, I will look at the theme of “rewilding the church”, inspired by Steve Aisthorpe’s book Rewilding the Church. (2020, Edinburgh: St Andrew’s Press.)
In recent years environmentalists have recommended rewilding as a strategy for conservation care. This is when we stop or partially stop deliberately managing the natural environment, instead letting nature take over and seeing what happens. The theme of rewilding has been used to help us understand releasing the Spirit for mission. Instead of repeating
the processes which aren’t working, new seeds must be sown in mission in order to regenerate the church so the new people are reached.