This past Sunday we were joined by Pastor Rich Rivera from Restoration Community Church in the South Bronx who spoke on Titus 2:11-14 reminding us of the imperative calling we have as Christians.
This week, Marina Palenyy shares her thoughts and reflections on Sunday's message.
What refreshed me profoundly is his reminder was that while God in creation spoke all life into existence, nature and animals, stars and moons, turns of seasons and intricacies of atoms that inhabit all tangible things, God touched dirt and breathed life into it to create us. There was something so intimate in that reminder for me. The God of all creation, the God of the world that we have not even begun to fully grasp with all our scientific advances, formed our humanity out of dirt with His breath. This gives us life to hear the verse in Titus, the calling to “renounce ungodliness… to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age” and to be “waiting for our blessed hope,” who is of course Christ.
With that confidence in mind, there are a few more things to consider. Just like Pastor Rivera said, “none of us get saved to sit, we get saved to be sent” – and in the political atmosphere in which we live today, Christianity has a specific space to speak into, with the love of Christ.
What I often get convicted of is the apathy that I see among many Christians today. At times I see myself counted among them; when the amount of hatred and corruption in our world paralyzes me into this distressed stupor. I do not remember the power of God, and I certainly do not want to remember His calling as a Christian to be His representative in areas of injustice.
As Pastor Rivera pointed out, "God demonstrates His power through saved people", we have work to do in our world today; that our intentional God who placed us here would have us be intentional – not to shut ourselves out or drown out the world with our own pursuits for a life we believe we deserve because God loves us. Today I am reminded that it doesn’t quite work that way. God would have me intentionally love my neighbor.
Lastly, we spoke on the effects gentrification has on the church. The church should reflect its community, but inevitably there is friction when groups come together to worship and discuss different perspectives on our world. The truth is, there is no perfect way to deal with this friction. However, the secret is in persevering through the awkwardness, it’s the commitment and persistence to seek, to listen, to understand and to forgive and certainly in asking for forgiveness. As one who grew up in a family of 10, I can attest to the truth that a family cannot function and be sustained in any other way. I am grateful to be a part of a church family that stays with me.