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AUTUMN LIFE GROUPS 22 – Page 7 – St Mary's Church, Reigate

AUTUMN LIFE GROUPS 22

Church is a community of honour

Romans 12:9-13 | Psalm 8

Romans 12:9-13

Love must be sincere. Hate what is evil; cling to what is good. 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honour one another above yourselves. 11 Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervour, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. 13 Share with the Lord’s people who are in need. Practise hospitality.

Psalm 8

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

You have set your glory
    in the heavens.
Through the praise of children and infants
    you have established a stronghold against your enemies,
    to silence the foe and the avenger.
When I consider your heavens,
    the work of your fingers,
the moon and the stars,
    which you have set in place,
what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
    human beings that you care for them?

You have made them a little lower than the angels
    and crowned them with glory and honour.
You made them rulers over the works of your hands;
    you put everything under their feet:
all flocks and herds,
    and the animals of the wild,
the birds in the sky,
    and the fish in the sea,
    all that swim the paths of the seas.

Lord, our Lord,
    how majestic is your name in all the earth!

OVERVIEW

“Honour is the operating system of the Kingdom of God” (Jon Tyson)

This week we are digging deeper into the kind of relationships we are being called into as a community called church.  Specifically, we are looking at the fundamental and guiding attitude needed that will direct all our actions – honour. 

To honour is to recognise the value, contribution, and importance of someone or something.  Glory is implicit value of someone or something.  Honour is our recognition of this glory, or the acknowledgement of the glory someone carries.

The bible a book steeped in an honour and shame and arises out of an honour and shame culture.  Humanity is honoured as bearing the image of God right at the start of the story and righteousness and honour go together right the way through. 

As we seek to live in (or live out) the narrative of scripture we need to take seriously the call to creating a culture of honour in our church, community, and wider culture.  Our own culture is polluted by disdain and contempt – the opposite of honour.

“Deep in our hearts, we feel sick about the hostility, dishonour, and disdain in our world. A kind of collective fatigue manifests itself in our disgust for our culture. We are exhausted by the devaluing of others but feel powerless to stop. I feel this at times after I am done looking at social media. There is so much condescension and so much anger. I feel both grieved and overwhelmed. I want to lash out, but I don’t exactly know how. We don’t know how to change the channel of contempt. Unity feels like a pipe dream, and healing, out of reach. Our hearts are grieved by the failure of the church as well. The way we devalue people for their theology or lack of it, different practices and traditions, and struggles with sin. Our vision of God has been lowered, his power is scarce, and his love is a rumour that’s been chased away. I believe there is a cure for the cancer of contempt: honour.”

Jon Tyson, Beautiful Resistance: The Joy of Conviction in a Culture of Compromise

The same can often be true within our church family.

“Sometimes we hear about churches having honour cultures, but they rarely seem to be cultures where everyone is honoured. The power dynamics work in such a way that the honour flows uphill to the senior leaders. Honour seems to work much as it would in the world. The most visible receive the most glory; the most gifted, the most attention.” 

Jon Tyson, Beautiful Resistance: The Joy of Conviction in a Culture of Compromise

The New Testament church, embodying Jesus’ own humility and self-emptying, sought to be a community of honour in a culture of honour and shame.  Both the church and the world expressed honour and shame.  The difference was who they honoured and what they said caused shame.  The remarkable thing about the early church was not that they cared about honour.  It was that they honoured the ‘wrong’ people.  In the church those normally and culturally dishonoured – slaves, women, the poor, and the outcast – were honoured and valued as equal members of the body.

The value of honour was so instinctive and fundamental that it was often assumed, but in the letters to the churches we can see how God’s people were called to pay special honour to others as a way of demonstrating the gospel in their relationships.

TAKE AWAY

Our culture also honours and shames people all the time.  In contrast we want to be a church that expresses a beautiful culture of honour where we consider everyone worthy of honour, as ‘better than ourselves’.  We want to create a culture where the weaker and least important members of our community are especially honoured, and we want to be a church that honours each other even when disagreeing or upset with one another.

ADDITIONAL QUESTIONS

  • What is the difference between honour and glory?
  • Who or what is honoured in our society?
  • Who or what is dishonoured?

  • What does it mean to honour other above yourself?
  • What bible stories can you think of that illustrate the theme of honour and shame?
  • How did Jesus handle being dishonoured?

  • How does the Trinity honour each other?
  • How does creation honour God?
  • How can we honour God with our bodies and our wealth?
  • How should we honour those in our families – husbands, wives, children, parents etc
  • How should we honour leadership in the church?

  • What steps can we make to create and strengthen the culture of honour within St Mary’s?