Sue and I have just returned from our holiday in the Northern Hemisphere.
We spent our time with our children and their partners; Aneurin and Joyce in the Netherlands and Gaynor and Chris in the UK.
This was also an opportunity to re-establish old friendships with the people we knew in Papua New Guinea; to discover relatives like my cousin Anna and to make new friends in the families of Joyce and Chris. We even struck up a continuing friendship with the woman sitting next to us in the plane on the way to Bangkok. She had an interest in community development and sustainability.
St Luke's Church is a community where people meet people, re-establish old friendships and discover new ones, often with surprising and interesting results.
There is an added dimension, though, because St Luke's meets in the name of Christ and we are a Christian Community. This means that have a heart felt belief and a yearning to be as Christ-like as we possibly can. We look to Jesus as a perfect example and we long to be perfect as well.
Of course we are not perfect and can't be perfect, no matter how hard we try. And, it must be admitted, some try harder than others.
Our aim is to share God's unconditional love and acceptance of all people. That's what we want to do.
Our mission statement says "we strive" to share God's love; which means we want to share God's love, we are trying to share God's love and we will do whatever we can to share God's love.
Most difficult of all, we desire to share God's love with people we don't like and people who we find a nuisance. People we wouldn't want to sit next to on the plane, people we would rather not be related to, ugly people, smelly people, annoying people. What a task we have!
This is why we gather on Sunday to set before ourselves the wonder of Christ's passion, death and resurrection which breaks down all the barriers of prejudice and mistrust, the barriers of sin and death.
As we put our trust in Jesus we find ourselves strengthened in what we are trying to do as Christians.
All those things which separate us from each other and from God, all our sins, have been destroyed by Christ's death, and there is nothing in all creation which can separate us from the love of God.
There is nothing to stop us from sharing that love with others.