I like visiting other churches. I find it personally refreshing and always seek to learn something, so yesterday, I took a morning out from Jubilee and visited Christ Central Manchester. This young, vibrant church is being newly led by Jeremy Simpkins who also leads the Newfrontiers North UK Team. It was also great to see my good friend Matt Cernik of Etherscape Design, who having spent the last 10 years in Derby and part of Jubilee, moved to Manchester earlier this year to be part of Christ Central.
Yesterday was the second Sunday in their new venue, the Manchester Comedy Store in the City Centre. This is a great venue! And whilst they were working to overcome the technical challenges of a new venue, it still worked really well and they were served well by the Comedy Store staff.
Jeremy preached from Song of Songs. This is not a book most preachers preach from very often! It can be read in two ways, both equally accurate. Firstly, it is a love story of a man and woman. Most commentators agree this is most likely King Solomon and a young woman. It is the story of their love and their relationship. It reminds us that God created relationships and marriage. Secondly, it can also be interpreted as a description of Christ’s love for the church. In the Bible, the church is often described as the Bride of Christ, and the relationship between Christ and the church is portrayed in terms of being like a marriage.
Song of Songs is certainly a book full of passion! Jeremy talked about the importance of passionate worship, and how, if our worship is not passionate, we have probably not fully understood God’s passion for us. Song of Songs talks about a kiss – an intimate expression of love. Similarly, God has expressed an intimate and passionate love for us. The question is, what is our expression of love for God like?
As a child of God, God has a passionate and everlasting love for you. So what is your response in life and worship to this wonderful, passionate love?