Thursday, 30 May 2013


"Pair up!" When you pair well with someone, there is mutual benefit. Your partner can add strength to you when you are weak. Your partner can give you an insight that you hadn't considered. Your partner can share their experiences, knowledge and resources with you to turn what is challenging you into what was challenging you. We were created to be paired. Adam and Eve. Noah's animals. Moses and Aaron. Christ's disciples. When we are not paired we feel it. Sometimes this unpairing happens before we realise it. And when it does it is then that we need repairing.

It's only in recent times though that word pair has come to mean two. It originated from the Old French word paire which came from the Latin paria which both meant "equal". To make equal. The Gospel pairs people. A Monarch becomes paired with the beggar when they both receive the Gospel that leads them to accept Christ. An elderly woman in the Autumn of her life becomes paired with a young man in the Summer of his life when they are both baptised into the Body of Christ. An African girl is paired with an elderly white European man when they stand before the same altar and worship the same Saviour. The Gospel pairs people.
For in one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and all were made to drink of one Spirit.
First Corinthians 12:13
Pastors are paired with their congregation. Equal. Equal access to God. Equal standing before God. Equal inheritance from God. Yet paired in such a way that their differences add, not diminish, their pairing. A pastor contributes his gifts and abilities through the filter of his experiences while a congregation contributes their differing gifts and abilities through the filter of their personalities and experiences. Pairing is one of the most beautiful aspects of the mystical union that believers share with each other.
¶ After this the Lord appointed seventy-two others and sent them on ahead of him, two by two, into every town and place where he himself was about to go.
Luke 10:1
Unpairing happens when we withdraw and isolate ourselves. From the beginning, God condescended to be paired with Adam and Eve. A sad day came when Adam and Eve unpaired themselves. When God came down in the cool of the day the result of this unpairing became immediately apparent: Adam and Eve hid from God. When we have afflicted aloneness on ourselves we move into the most unnatural state of being unpaired. The unpaired soul will seek to hide from God and His presence. Of course Adam had ready 'reasons' why he was hiding - most people do. "They hurt me at that church, so I'm just taking time out from church"..."They don't really care about me in that church, so I'm not going there anymore"..."They're so judgmental in that church which is why I want nothing to do with church anymore"..."They offended me when they pried into my personal life, so I'm looking for a more loving church to attend instead." The vocabularly of an unpaired soul.
¶ With promises like this to pull us on, dear friends, let's make a clean break with everything that defiles or distracts us, both within and without. Let's make our entire lives fit and holy temples for the worship of God.
Second Corinthians 7:1
Do you know someone who is unpaired? If you do, you might be able to help them to pair again, or repair.

I'm a repaired soul. God took my offence and bitterness and repaired my heart with His Spirit. Perhaps it's time for some repairing to happen in the hearts and souls of the many unpaired once-close-followers of Christ who are peppered across our City? This is one of God's main purposes for us as a church - to be a place of pairing and repairing. It's a challenging purpose because there is so much at work against us. Our Enemy wants to isolate and damage people. But our God wants to pair and repair people. The original script of the Enemy still forms the dialogue that he uses to trick people into thinking that church is unncessary, unimportant, unhelpful, and unwarranted. "Has God said...?" Today, we need people who love Jesus and love what Jesus loves who can repair His Church and strengthen it.
So those who were engaged in the work labored, and the repairing went forward in their hands, and they restored the house of God to its proper condition and strengthened it.
Second Chronicles 24:13
Being unpaired damages people. We are all designed to be paired with God. For those who enjoy being paired with God there is the infinite pleasure of being a "partner with Christ" (Heb. 3:14 - For we have become partners with Christ, if in fact we hold our initial confidence firm until the end) and being granted access to approach God as our Heavenly Father!
Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need.
Hebrews 4:16 .
When you are repaired by Christ your wounded soul becomes whole. The wounds that are denied, yet obvious to all around you, are no longer denied, but acknowledged and salved by Christ's sweet balm. God's repairing of your soul involves being paired to Christ. The Shepherd Psalm describes this as having your soul restored. The repaired soul experiences renewed love for Jesus and what He loves. Watch any lovers who pair up together and note how they take on an interest in the things that delight their partner. In a similar way, pair up with Christ and note how your soul is repaired into love for those things that Christ delights in. You'll read the Scriptures, which Christ authored as well as inspired, with a repaired vigour to discover what He loves so that the work of repairing your soul is brought to its fulness. Have you been repaired by Christ? Is your soul free from the damage of bitterness and unforgiveness? Are you harbouring offence that has unpaired you and left you needing to be repaired? The Gospel lovingly summons you to be healed, set free, forgiven and repaired. God only knows how desperately this world needs repairing.

Ps. Andrew

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