26th November 2023 – Minister’s Letter:
The importance of the local church for every believer *
The local church is where God’s people benefit from the gift of the Spirit in the life of others, not just their own. It’s where we hear the truth of God spoken by others in words we would not have chosen ourselves. Where we taste Christ’s love in bread and wine, in the same moment as those who taste it with us. Where the word of God is not just discussed but preached so that at least once each week we listen with the humble silence of those who hear their Father’s voice.
The local church is where we confess our sins in the company of fellow sinners and learn that we are not alone in our failures, nor in our forgiveness. Where we pray together for those things we often fail to pray for on our own, and where we intercede for others and they for us. Where we find older saints who’ve walked our road before us, and younger saints who remind us of how wide our eyes were when we first believed.
It is where people find salvation, truth, hope, joy. Where the word of Christ dwells richly. Where people who would never rub shoulders but for the precious mercy of Jesus learn to love each other deeply from the heart; and where that love covers over a multitude of sins. It is both painful and sweet, at once turbulent and a place of peace, simultaneously full of brokenness and a stunning foretaste of what’s to come – precisely because it is the very wisdom of God.
* From an article in Sydney Anglicans by Simon Flanders