Last month I wrote a piece in the Newsletter about my forthcoming sabbatical, it seemed best to include it then so if anything was still unclear people could ask. Sabbaticals are not common so questions are natural and there have been some interesting ones. It is always hoped that the three months break from the routine of church life will be of benefit to the minister and ultimately to the church as well.
Recently all three churches in our Reading Group have had their A.G.M.’s, a looking back over the past year of the churches life and looking forward in hope to where the Spirit will lead us in the coming year. An A.G.M gives the opportunity to review what the church we belong to has done over the past year and to take a greater responsibility for what we may do in the future, A thought I would like to leave you with for these three months and I believe so important for the church is summed up the word belonging.
The truth is our modern culture does not always encourage belonging. The church is seen as outdated and outmoded. Nowadays it is often projects rather than organisations; relationships rather than institutions; short term enthusiasm rather than life-long commitment. Yet we believe God wants us to express and grow in our faith, in community. A community where there are committed relationships to one another, where we give and receive from one another and where we commit ourselves to belong to God, to belong to his church with the emphasis on our responsibilities and service.
We all have a choice to make, there are three options. We can attend worship occasionally and be a welcome visitor. We can attend regularly and feel that we belong without making any clear commitment. We can actively commit ourselves to this local church and enter into a new relationship of love.
Choose the third or lose out. What I have learnt over the years is the more we give the more we receive, the more we hold back the more we struggle. For we are called by God to be committed to one another and together to serve Christ.
On the 20th May we celebrate the festival of Pentecost when we revisit the birth of the Church and focus on what commitment to Christ and belonging to his Church meant for those first Christians. I hope their enthusiasm and their commitment will be rekindled in your belonging over the next few months.
Yours in Christ,