Pastor Jeff Knott of Grace Church in Port Hope, Ontario begins the sermon series “Rejoicing the City”:
The world was created in wisdom. It shows intention; it shows design; it shows purpose; and, it shows meaning.
When God’s wisdom is operating we get beauty, harmony and synergy.
God made the world for peace and blessedness.
When the Bible talks about peace, it talks about shalom. Shalom means universal flourishing, it means wholeness, it means delight.
When God made the world and everything in it, like a fabric, all this stuff was interwoven into a beautiful system of interdependency.
We have our conscience, emotion and reason and when they work together you experience inner shalom.
“In the Bible shalom means universal flourishing, wholeness and delight; the webbing together of God, humans and all creation in justice and fulfillment. A rich state of affairs in which natural needs are satisfied and natural gifts fruitfully employed. A state of affairs that inspires joyful wonder as its Creator and Saviour opens doors and welcomes the creatures in whom He delights. Shalom, in other words, is the way things ought to be.”
The world does not have a way of fixing itself.
What’s the answer to the world’s desperate condition? His answer in the meantime is to have a people, a church, who live in wisdom, who know that the world is not as it should be and work with the help of God’s Spirit to make it right again. Who are these people? The righteous. They are the people who follow God’s ways.
The city rejoices when the righteous prosper because they use their prosperity for the common good. God is making us into diamonds so that we will shine out there, so that the brightness of God’s glory would be seen in the darkness of this world.
It’s for the common good that God is restoring us, so that we ourselves might be good news to the nations.
Imagine being a kind of church that because of our presence and practice of doing good – adding value, addressing needs, changing futures – that the town of Port Hope rejoices.
It doesn’t say when the righteous prosper the righteous rejoice, it’s only when the city does. That’s the measure of how we’re living our faith.