* I used to open our Midtown services with a welcome that clarified why we gathered, who we were, and whose we were.
Welcome to Midtown Christian Community. Welcome in the name of Jesus Christ, the one who died but now lives and reigns from heaven.
Jesus Christ is our life, and he is on his way to restore the world, to restore and heal us, and to bring us into his eternal kingdom–a kingdom that is not characterized by division, hatred, frustration, oppression, pain, exploitation, rage, destructive relationships, bad deals, crushed hopes and shattered dreams. NO! When Jesus returns, these horrors will be gone forever!
Jesus is on his way to establish his kingdom that is characterized by peace, by life, by goodness, laughter, wonderful music, good food and good times with friends that leave you both satisfied and wanting more, being known by loved ones who delight in what they find out about you, swimming in clean rivers, climbing up waterfalls and exploring in lush forests, sitting out underneath the stars by a camp-fire laughing hysterically with good friends.
These are the beauties that we long for. Something in all of us tells us that our current experience isn’t how it’s supposed to be–there’s something more and there’s something else. We aren’t designed for this enslaved existence.
Sin and Death have corrupted and perverted God’s good world. But Jesus is on his way to take it back and to restore all things so that we may dwell on the earth as we were meant to–enjoying God, enjoying one another, and enjoying God’s good world.
So we say, with the Spirit, “come, Lord Jesus.”
As a sign that we will enjoy that future kingdom, God has given to us this group of people—this gathering. He has created us as brothers and sisters, and God himself is present by his Spirit. By God’s Spirit, we can enjoy a taste of what the restored creation will be like. So we gather in the name of King Jesus to laugh, to share our burdens and joys, to enjoy good food with good friends, and to cry out for God to restore his world soon, for the glory of his name and the good of his people.