Miami is full of bridges! This past week I spent 24 hrs in New York for a Fresh Expressions event. As I flew in and out of the big city I was amazed by all the bridges. It has been ten years since I last was in NYC and I never noticed all the bridges that connected this little Island to the rest of the USA!
As we end our series on Jonah this image is appropriate. In many ways God sent Jonah to be a bridge to the people of Ninevah, to reconnect them with God again!
This too is our calling as the church. We are called to be bridges in our own communities- connecting people with God and the church. As we look towards our move we will be in many places. Our office space will be downtown, our homeless ministry will be at the entrance of Overtown and we might even have a presence on Miami Beach. For some this might sound complicated yet I believe it is the vision God has for us. God is creating little bridges all over our community. We are the hub and these locations are the first of many spokes into our community. Each spoke is meant to connect a new community with God the real hub and maybe even the hub church downtown!
The last chapter of Jonah, Jonah 4, we find that Jonah is upset that God was merciful and the people of Ninevah repented. Maybe he felt it was a waste of his time to go, maybe he was upset that God was merciful and people were forgiven. Jonah was sent to go and bring people to God, and against all odds, they did repent and believe in God again.
Believe it or not we see the same behavior today. Many churches want new people. Churches want new people to find God and peace and wholeness, yet, when the work of it is actually upon them they don’t want it. When the people from the outside of the church come inside, many churches become nervous and actually don’t want new people inside.
My prayer for us as we venture out of our building and into the world is that we would be a bridge God can use to bring people to God. We are God’s vessels, like Jonah, God is using us!
May we be open to be used by God and as merciful as God has been to each of us!
See you on Sunday!