What We Believe About Mercy
When Christ taught his disciples to pray he used this example;
“Our Father in heaven,hallowed be your name,your kingdom come,your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.Give us today our daily bread.Forgive us our debts,as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one.
May your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.”
What does that mean? At Urban Bridge we call that Bridging Christ and Culture. There is no doubt that it means spiritual transformation. The agenda of the church is pretty obvious and necessary – we talk about spiritual things a lot. We know that heaven is our final and ultimate destination but what about other acts transformation. Is there more? We believe there is.
We believe that it is our responsibility to be people of grace because of Christ’s sacrificial act of grace towards us.
We believe that it is our responsibility and privilege to bring heaven to earth.
We believe that to bring heaven to earth we have a responsibility to be agents of Christ, to be his hands and feet: spiritually, emotionally, physically and socially – holistic transformation.
We believe that if we limit heaven on earth to spiritual change only – we miss much of Christ‚Äôs message.
Christ set the agenda for heaven on earth early on
“Woe to you, teachers of the law and Pharisees, you hypocrites! You give a tenth of your spices; mint, dill and cumin. But you have neglected the more important matters of the law; justice, mercy and faithfulness. You should have practiced the latter, without neglecting the former.”
Matthew 23:23 New International Version (NIV)
From the beginning Christ followers heard and obeyed. The New Testament is full of references to justice, mercy and faithfulness. Some examples:
“In Joppa there was a disciple named Tabitha who was always doing good and helping the poor.”
Acts 9:36 NIV
“The angel answered, “Your prayers and gifts to the poor have come up as a memorial offering before God.”
“I came to Jerusalem to bring my people gifts for the poor and to present offerings.”
“All they asked was that we should continue to remember the poor, the very thing I was eager to do.” Galatians 2:10
Our relationship with Christ, our desire to follow and obey Christ cannot be separated from justice, mercy and faithfulness. The formation team of Urban Bridge Church spent the spring of 2006 crafting our values. One of these values relates justice, mercy and faithfulness and was perhaps the most contentious – because it requires us to put our money and our time where our mouth is. We call it our Mercy value:
As a community of mercy, we endeavour to enable people to overcome challenges by actively participating in their lives. This requires that we be known in the community in which we exist. Our actions will be intentional and reflected in the allocation of our time and not less than 20% of our resources.
Initially we were concerned about the 20%. This value was shaped before our first public gatherings, before we had seen any income. It was before our first offering. What if we couldn’t pay our rent? What if we couldn’t pay a salary? We worried for nothing. We learned that when you take care of the needy Christ takes care of you.
We support HIV aids widows houses in Rwanda East Africa. We support HIV aids research and care here. We volunteer at an aids hospice. We volunteer at a downtown mission.
Over the past two years we have responded to many individual needs.
Last November one of our community who volunteers at a youth drop in center asked if we could help her help kids on the street. We raised around $850.
6 Back Packs
12 Journals with Pencils and Felts
16 Thermal Pants
16 Thermal Shirts
80 AA Batteries
200+ Assorted Granola Bars
$300 in Gift Certificates for Food
It created heaven on earth for a number of kids.
A husband and wife team in one of our neighbourhoods opened a store not long ago. He was diagnosed with life threatening disease as a result they would both be off for an extended time.Family flew in to run the shop and Urban Bridge gave them financial support. They are a tiny bit closer to heaven on earth.
We are doing what Christ asks of us; to bring heaven on earth. Christ is pleased by what we are doing in his name: but he is not yet satisfied. We want to continue to move acts of mercy at Urban Bridge Church from an event to a lifestyle. We want everyone who is part of the Urban Bridge community to be involved in a lifestyle of mercy and we will support and empower one another in this effort.