The Four Lives of The Church: Part – 2 Life of the Spirit
by Bishop Joseph Gregory D’Souza
Acceptance speech delivered at his consecration as the Bishop & Moderator of the Good Shepherd Community Church on 30th August 2014.
A Word from George Verwer
My blessing is with this great work of God in India.
Founder & Former International Director,
The Four Lives of The Church: Part -2 Life of the Spirit
The next life of the church we want to cultivate, develop and give strong encouragement is to the “Life of the Spirit”.
We speak in the Good Shepherd Church of encountering Christ in our services and through our liturgy. To encounter means to meet, to touch, to experience, to know, to feel and to see. This is possible only through the life of the Spirit.
Jesus Christ is not a dead God. He is alive and expects us to encounter Him daily through a faithful walk, obedience and even in our failures. The study and reading of the Bible must lead us to Christ. The Bible points to Him.
We worship Christ, not the Bible. We encounter Christ in the Bible.
We also encounter Him in the Holy Communion, in sacrament and ordinance given to us. The communion is about His presence and remembrance of His crucifixion and resurrection.
Christ is always the center of the church. Man and his programs cannot be the center of the church and her worship. People come to church to encounter Christ, not man. The Spirit of Christ is present in His church.
Some Christians think that the Holy Spirit came into the church just a hundred years ago. The Holy Spirit has been in the Church for 2,000 years. He birthed the church. And it is the Spirit that enables us to experience Christ and His powerful grace and gifts.
The early church encountered the life of the Spirit in silence, in private, in community, in ministry and worship. Another way we encounter Christ is through one another and in the people we love. The act of witness or mission is itself an act of encountering Christ.
When I love the unwanted and when I feed the poor, I do it to Christ. When I heal the sick and when I visit someone in prison, when I touch the untouchable and help the dying, I do it to Christ.
That is what drove Mother Teresa and her mission. She believed her acts of mission were unto Jesus. This indeed is the highest motive and dignity we give to mission. It once for all deals with every act of paternalism and patronization. Mission is about doing everything to Christ.
We encounter and meet Christ in our financial giving and our efforts to help others through the love of Christ. The Good Shepherd Church will continue her life in the Spirit. I am committed to fulfil the church’s stewardship in this.
The Good Shepherd Church & Associated Ministries India.
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