This morning, we started a new series called ‘Connections’. ‘Connection’ is defined as ‘a relationship between two things, people, or groups’, but for many of us, the word implies other things, such as a youth careers’ service (Connexions), or the need to sort timetables to ensure we don’t miss a bus or train or two pipes or wires being joined together! Often, we feel life is full of connections, rather like fitting the pieces of a jigsaw together when you’re not sure what the picture is supposed to look like!
Connections are necessary on both a vertical and horzontal level if we are to develop spiritually; the vertical relationship with God is paramount, but we also need to be connected to people (see Gen 2:18) God often uses human relationships to act as metaphors for the relationship He wants to have with us: thus, He is our Father and we are His children and the church is described as the bride of Christ. It’s no surprise that these intimate human relationships become the pathway to our understanding of our connection with God.
Our physical life starts when the sperm connects to the egg and life is conceived. For forty weeks, that life is nurtured in the seclusion of the mother’s uterus by means of the placenta. Without this strong, healthy connection between mother and child, the child will die, but for the most part, there’s little that mother or child do in this mysterious process known as pregnancy. In the same way, we need to connect to God in utter dependence and trust (see John 15:5). The connection we need to restore our vertical relationship with God is available to all of us through the sacrifice of Jesus on the cross, but this organic union is not one we earn or can maintain through striving.
When a child is born and the umbilical cord is cut, a new way of connection has to be formed between mother and child (through breast-feeding.) We have to learn to crave pure spiritual milk in the same way that the newborn baby has to learn to feed. (1 Pet 2:1-3) We have to learn to put to death the old nature, severing that connection to our old way of living (Rom 6:1-11) so that this new connection with God can be maintained. The unity and harmony of the Godhead, where Three Persons (Father, Son and Spirit) co-exist in perfect connection, shows us something of the perfect connection we crave and Jesus Himself prayed that we might be one as He and the Father are one. (John 17:11) It’s possible if we remain in Jesus and recognise God has done all that is needful for us to be re-connected to Him.