Posts Tagged ‘church’

Why I love my Church.

There are many reasons I love this new family I have become part of in the last few months. Mostly it’s because we are small and stupid. We’re trying to work out how to love each other in the mess of broken lives. That means nothing looks particularly neat or polished. Heartbreak is out in the open. We aren’t so stuck behind polite walls. Of course we are some of the time but that’s part of our brokenness.

In the last 48 hours I have been prayed for and have prayed for others,  I’ve been encouraged through texts, e-mail and verbal communication (that’s clearly a phrase from the application forms…), I’ve reminded others of the wonder of our God, I’ve not wanted to do that, I’ve said things I shouldn’t have done,  I’ve attended our meetings and encouraged someone by just turning up, I’ve stuck addresses on envelopes because I’ve had the time and I’ve had many hugs.  I’ve been honest with people and haven’t been allowed to hide away in tiredness or in fear. In short I’ve been part of a giant collective WE (no there isn’t another ‘e’ lying around that sentence…).

That’s why I love my church, because we are together in this. It’s hard to sum it up into words, this feeling of family, of sharing lives with each other, of real love that goes beyond me and ends up free in the love and care of each other. Jesus’ ways really are best. His commitment to turning from His path and walking someone else’s is the Way in which to follow. The way we get to be most human in this life.

As ever Martyn Joseph sums it all up way better than I could.

“This is us, we, you and me together we are home..

We’re a stupid man, a dreamer
Got fire in a soul
A fighting, writing, wronging
A broken God shaped hole
Stand with you in the desert
Walk with you on the path
And the truth is I’m not joking
And I hope that you won’t laugh

This is us, we, you and me together we are home..

Bring on all the doubter’s
And those who know too much
To gather in the darkness
And find a common touch
Got no doubt we need  justice
Got no doubt we need some faith
Got no doubt that loves a mystery
I’m holding on to the tails of her grace

This is us, we, you and me together we are home..

I walked upon a treasured land
We all stood on her stage
We all sound checked together
A laughing holy rage
Some sang into each others eyes
Some sang to the ground
We were lost there when we started
But now we can be found

This is us, we, you and me together we are home…”


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Our kind of church on a Sunday morning far away, chatting, reading the Bible, praying, grateful as ever for friends who’ve know me for a long long time, who I can bear my soul to, who love me as me. Glad to share their lives and deeply glad that we have real solid hope. The cosy cottage keeping us safe as the storm rages outside, good times to use the phrase pathetic fallacy. Sitting in the best deli/cafe and consuming more incredible food, paper buying, curling up on a sofa reading. Ending the day with much roast joy, a warming fire and a good film. Happy sighs all round.

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Day OFF. Many smiles. The last services at my church, glad of all God has done through the place in the last four years. Very glad. In the midst of sadness at leaving, feeling oh so loved this evening by my Maker through his body, the church… The aw from Bob. The sense of stepping out having NO clue of the results, but glad that I know the One who does. The million cups of tea this afternoon and Kev’s ADHD.

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Today marks the start of Lent. Which depending on your background might leave you feeling guilty that you haven’t even managed to give up chocolate for today let alone 40 days, for others it’s a general shrug of the shoulder at those Pharisaical Anglicans. At somepoint in the history of the church (if I cared more I’d look it up and tell you) it was deemed a Good Idea to create a Christian Calender to mark important occasions down each year so we’d remember Jesus a whole lot more than we do. Thus Easter, Christmas, Lent, Advent and a whole host of other days that are too numerous to put here.

Lent is one of those occasions in which the real meaning has been taken over others. Either by self help gurus to help us improve ourselves by being thinner (who decided thin was good and fat was bad in the moral code of life anyway?). Or it’s one of those things that smug people like to deride in a I’m so free I don’t need to be disciplined for 40 days kind of a way. Both approaches have little merit. Feel free to ignore Lent by all means, but try not to be smug about it. And feel free to observe Lent but please do more than give up chocolate. At least find a good reason for giving up chocolate. Maggi Dawn explains all this far more eloquently than I ever could.

“Lent is not about giving up luxuries, not about losing weight or gaining other benefits, not about food per se, not about de-cluttering or Feng Shui or about ay other kind of feel-good, de-toxifying exercise. In the end, it’s about denying yourself some of the essentials of everday life in order to focus on the reality that we depend upon God for life itself; about re-aligning ourselves with God and his purposes in our world; about reminding ourselves that all we have is a gift from God in any case.

And neither is Lent about achievement. We cannot earn God’s love, nor save ourselves. If our Lenten Fast is understood well, it will relieve us of the need to try harder, achieve more, feel worthy. It will ground us in the firm and unshakeable knowledge that we are human – we are but dust, and to dust we shall return – but that to be human is enough, under the loving gaze of God.”

So, if you give up chocolate do it because Jesus is sweeter and we need him in our lives. Find it hard and feel your need of God. But here’s 5 things that might be better than giving up chocolate this Lent and feeling fairly smug about it.

1. Turn off the TV for half an hour a day. Read through the gospels in that time.

2. Feast on chocolate each weekend and remember the Good Provider of it all.

3. Use your time in a different way, do something nobody sees or notices that really helps someone. Don’t tell anyone about it.

4. Actually fast for one day a week. Let it remind you of how much we need God.

5. Wake up each morning and remember that you are a dearly loved child of God. Enjoy that for a bit. Smile. Tell someone else who they are.

Really, do anything that reminds you that you are a creature in the hands of a quite brilliant creator.

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