Musings from the Manse – October

So often we hear the church is the people and not the building and of course this has come into sharp focus in the last six months and is very much true. It is apparent that for most Christians this has been a shift in moving from thinking this to experiencing it as a reality. So what difference does this mean to us? Well first it means we have to rethink about changing at least in the short term the buildings being the centre of our mission and perhaps the centre of our worship. Secondly, we need to move our thinking about how the church is being called by God in the present context into loving our neighbours and making disciples.
It may help us to consider how many hours prior to COVID on an average week we spent in worship and how long in mission activities actually in our buildings and how did that compare with our time in worship and mission away from the building. I am sure that will identify that as church we actually spent a very small percentage of our time in our buildings and so we ask ourselves what were the things we were doing away from the buildings to serve and worship Christ before? When we reflect with God on these things it will help us as we consider as churches, when we meet together over the coming weeks, what our worship and mission will look like in the next say four months, assuming it won’t be centred around the buildings much or at all. I am sure God is not calling us to do nothing or indeed take a break from the worship and mission life of his church.
Please consider these questions and discuss them with each other so it can inform our conversation when we meet.
What is God calling us to be and do as scattered church in this strange land?
What contact do and can we have with others Outside the church that can be our opportunities to share the love of Christ and to tell his story and how our story is shaped by our relationship with him?
How can we support each other in this mission?
You might think having said all that why would I include a photo that I took of the Anglican Church in Arkendale recently. Well, when I cycled up to it I had to stop as the sun shone all the way through the building and I felt a real sense of God’s presence. When I eventually moved on I saw how neat the gardens were and that there was a bench for folk to sit and rest and it reminded me of how I have seen many churches do things using the outside of their buildings as a mission tool. We have done some of that at both churches with our Christmas angels at Bilton and our various displays at Knaresborough but maybe we can consider other things?

In all this I do believe that God has not finished with his church and I hope that we are even more committed to follow Jesus in new ways.
With love in Christ

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