In Luke 15 and following Jesus tells us a number of parables, stories with a message, and one of them is about a lost sheep.
Most of us will know this story well. A sheep is lost and the shepherd goes out to find it.
The focus of the story isn’t the sheep, it’s the shepherd. And what Jesus is saying is that those who are lost, those who are lonely, those who are vulnerable, are valued by God. He actively seeks them out he wants to bring them home.
The picture that develops is a beautiful one. The shepherd goes out of his way to find the sheep, and when he does he puts it over his shoulder and carries it. Doesn’t that speak of the value of the sheep. He’s got another 99 at home, but it’s the one that is lost that concerns him. And when he finds it he tenderly cares for it.
We will all have those moments when we want to be loved like that. When we feel alone, vulnerable, lost. Jesus is looking for us, he’s looking for you, and he wants to carry you home. You’re not alone, you don’t have to be alone, you can surrender to the love of Jesus and allow him to carry you.
The shepherd doesn’t leave the sheep alone. He brings it back to the flock, to the other sheep.
As church we want to build our relationship with Jesus, but we also need to build our relationships with each other. There is no such thing as individual Christianity. We are meant to be together. God calls a people to be his, and that people are his church.World wide and local.
The local church is important. It’s the area of mission to the world, it’s where we love each other, build each other up, support and care for each other. All so that we are equipped to go into the world and change it one life and at time for God.
A part of that being together, it being committed to each other, and expressing that commitment. A way in which we do that is membership where we covenant (make promises) to each other and we allow others permission to speak truth in love into our lives.
We are not independent Christians we are dependent. The imagery of the church in the bible is of family, of a vine and branches of a body. Always a picture of connectedness. A picture of a life shared together.
We love being together as church, and we long for everyone to feel welcome and a sense of belonging whether a member or not to our church.
But if you think you want to express your commitment in a more formal way, such as membership then please speak to me or one of the elders.