It's easy to find ourselves going through all the motions
of the Christian Life, saying and doing all the right things; playing
a part we've learned from others. Sometimes we suspect that ours may
be a "fake plastic faith"; that underneath the role we play and the
masks we wear there is very little of the reality of a relationship
with with the Living God. At the heart of this year's vision is a desire
to move beyond the pretence, to take off our masks, to strip away what's
fake and find something real.
Too often we look for our identity in what we do and in what others
think of us. We need to learn to find out identity in God's grace -
realising that He loves us with all our sin and weakness and doubt and
foolishness. We're beggars who have found bread, big sinners who have
found a bigger Saviour.
We've been given Christian Fellowship and friendship to help us along
the road of discipleship - but we can't help each other if we are hiding
our real selves. We need to learn to be open, accountable and real with
each other, then we can be the kind of community God intended. This
kind of fellowship will transform our worship and prayer together and
our service and mission together in the world.
God wants us to live lives that are radically different from what is
expected and ancouraged by our culture. But our discipleship flows out
of our identity as sinners who have received God's amazing grace. Our
primary task is to dispense that same grace to others, so we need to
live for God's kingdom, not only with great compassion and committment,
but with real humility and love.