Our Blueprints For Building Mosaic

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A good friend of mine belongs to a church which laid the first stone in their new church building this week. The architects have produced the plans and now the builders need to get on with the hard work of translating those plans into bricks and mortars.

That stone laying act and the construction of a new building reminded me of us. We are building a church too, of course we know that a building isn’t the church, any more than my shoes are my feet. Peter describes building a church like this,

“Present yourselves as building stones for the construction of a sanctuary vibrant with life, in which you’ll serve as holy priests offering Christ-approved lives up to God.” 1 Peter 2:5

For Peter you don’t build a church with bricks and mortar, for him its our lives as God’s People which are the raw materials of the church. We truly build the church when our lives are built together by the Holy Spirit in relationship with each other to create a community which brings people to God and God to people. The more I thought about that the more I concluded that its much easier to build church buildings than churches. The builders just need to go and consult the plans, where its all laid out for them, and then get on with the hard work of construction. I was day dreaming about how it would be great to have detailed plans to build a spiritual community, “a sanctuary vibrant with life” where God is made tangible and encountered when it struck me that in a sense we do have instructions on how to do that.

There is a phrase which recurs with amazing and significantly regularity throughout the New Testament. It appears in almost ever book and sometimes on several occasions in one book. That significant phrase is made up simply of two words “one another.” Its a phrase which when added to other instructions describes how Christians are to treat each other. In other words, the “one anothers” of the New Testament describe in practice how we are to build the kind of community through our relationships, our interdependent lives, which will make God tangible to us and others. The “one anothers” of the New Testament are the relational equivalent of the architect’s blue prints that the builders of my friends new church building are following. As we kick off this new chapter of Mosaic Edinburgh with our missional communities, it struck me that we should be paying as much attention to these instructions for building church in flesh and blood as those who are building a church building in bricks and mortar follow their blueprints. I am also pretty sure that building a church in flesh blood here in Edinburgh according to these plans will be as much hard work for us as building that church building through in Glasgow will be for the brickies, joiners and electricians. Constructing a community is hard work, but ultimately worth while.

So lets pay attention to the plans, let’s study them closely and follow them in detail. Lets build our church, our divine / human encountering community, according to our Architect’s design. Let these words guide how we treat one another.

Accept one another
Accept one another, then, just as Christ accepted you, in order to bring praise to God. (Romans 15:7)

Admonish one another
Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly as you teach and admonish one another with all wisdom, and as you sing psalms, hymns and spiritual songs with gratitude in your hearts to God. (Colossians 3:16)

Bear one another’s burdens
Carry each other’s burdens, and in this way you will fulfil the law of Christ. (Galatians 6:2) Bear with one another Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2)

Build up one another
Let us therefore make every effort to do what leads to peace and to mutual “edification” (original=build up one another). (Romans 14:19)

Care for one another
“…so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. (1 Corinthians 12:25)

Comfort one another
Therefore encourage each other (original=comfort one another) with these words. (1 Thessalonians 4:18)

Confess faults to one another
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

Be Devoted to one another
Be devoted to one another in brotherly love. (Romans 12:10a)

Encourage one another
Therefore encourage one another and build each other up, just as in fact you are doing. (1 Thessalonians 5:11; Hebrews 3:13)

Forgive one another
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Be Honest with one another
Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off your old self with its practices . . . (Colossians 3:9)

Honour one another
Honour one another above yourselves. (Romans 12:10b)

Be Hospitable to one another
Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling. (1 Peter. 4:9; Romans 12:13)

Be Kind to one another
Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you. (Ephesians 4:32)

Love one another
Let no debt remain outstanding, except the continuing debt to love one another . . . (Romans 13:8)

Members one of another
So in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (Romans 12:5)

Pray for one another
Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous man is powerful and effective. (James 5:16)

Be of the Same Mind with one another
May the God who gives endurance and encouragement give you a spirit of unity among yourselves (original=same mind among each other) as you follow Christ Jesus… (Romans 15:5)

Serve one another
You, my brothers, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the sinful nature; rather, serve one another in love. (Galatians 5:13)

Spur one another on
And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds. (Hebrews 10:24)

Submit to one another
Submit to one another out of reverence for Christ. (Ephesians 5:21

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