You’d be mistaken if you thought perfection was the point of it all. No, only a commitment to progress, to the journey, to a pilgrimage.
At C3 PHILLY, our hope is to create a community where the inherent dignity of what it means to be human is declared week in and week out, whilst we journey with a spirit of authenticity into the fullness of all God has. Let’s never forget that we are each and will always be a complex mix of both light and shadow.
In John 11 we see the astonishing resurrection of Lazarus as Jesus pulls this dead man from the shadow of his tomb. Lazarus had been clothed in shadow for four days and yet there was something in the compassionate and hopeful voice of Jesus that energised those that had gathered at the face of the tomb to roll the stone away and let the light flood in.
Darkness doesn’t intimidate the Divine. In that moment life dramatically returned to Lazarus body and he began to stagger from the grave. And yet, he still wore its clothes. So again, Jesus “turned to the others” that had remained, and asked them to participate in the miracle that was unfolding in from to them. “Unbind him and let him go” was the invitation. To help Lazarus stride from his darkness and into the light. Jesus had got the man out of the grave, but he asks those around to get the grave off of the man.
The funny thing is that we are all Lazarus, full of new life, as we stagger into the light. And yet simultaneously we are all Martha, empowered to lovingly remove the shadow of the tomb and the grave clothes from those around us.
The secret of a true, authentic, and growing community is one that is filled with people that are humble enough to allow others to remove their rags and yet, at the same time help others find their own knots. With a spirit of friendship and love.
At C3 PHILLY we aim to establish a humble, loving and authentic community. One where we feel we can be true to who we are on our own journey of change, and yet also create a space where others feel like they can walk from their grave without fear or shame. Our hope is to establish a new peoplehood, a new community that never once expects you to have everything together before you feel validated, accepted or included. We are a people on pilgrimage, not a people of perfection. We recognise that we are each a complex mix of both light and shadow, yet we affirm that our sacred journey has only just begun as we discover the depth of all we can become together in Christ. We declare the inherent dignity that each person possess regardless of what stage of their life in Jesus they are at, and yet affirm there is still so much more to become. Together, through prayer, community, love and trust we will move from our shadowy sides into the light of fullness of Gods abundant, generative and all encompassing love.
We are both the healed and the healing as we all stagger into new life and light.
So you can let Jesus into your tomb, you can show him your shadow, for he knows where you lie.
So go ahead, fear not, take away the stone and stagger into the light.
Colin is the Lead Pastor of C3 PHIILY. Along with his wife Beth and their two children Austin & Indie they currently live in Sheffield, UK and are navigating the challenges of what feels like a long distance relationship with their love, Philadelphia. With a dream in their heart to build an innovative and life giving church that exists for the love of Philadelphia, they’ve sold their home and are busy making plans to move to the East Coast as soon as possible. Colin also brings with him a faint hope of converting the city to a love for Tottenham Hotspur Soccer Team.