And so a little more thought after the events of the weekend; this time, on a broader issue that now presses upon me somewhat!
No, I am not referring to my flagrant mockery of my Rector's now extreme old age during the Eucharist, rather -
- the Church and, well, erm - real life. The stuff that happens outside the doors of the building.
Saturday taught me so much about the rightful place of a Christian in the context of the kind of melee that we were gifted so kindly by the Welsh-flag waving English Defence League. Should we, as Christian God-botherers have been up to our knees in it, or should we have stayed well clear? Then take the answer, multiply it by all the numbers of days, and apply it to each of them.
To many, and indeed the vast majority of people, the Christian faith says little of interest or relevance. That is sad, and quite mistaken. People of faith have the answers - oh yes we do. We have a duty to declare what we have to say, to stand up and be counted, and sometimes, take daft risks doing it. It is our 'job' to convince the rest of you that you must attend the The Other in your lives - that niggling sense that this all has a greater meaning than sperm-egg-promotion-incontinence-death. People of faith have something to say on the subject - step into my office, I have something that you might need...
Now, we could do that in many ways (and do do it in many ways), but one such way is to be in the thick of it when it's all going a bit Pete Tong. Dishing out the low-down on The Other (who for sake of ease I will refer to as God) on a Sunday only, or on a sunny bank holiday in a park with other like-mindeds - it's all good, but just a fraction of the work that needs to be done. The other six days of the week have their needs and those outside of church-life live them too. In the church as a whole we talk very little about how people make their livings, how they spend their times, personal hopes or fears (aside from their outwatd 'results'). I believe that we-the-Church are missing a trick here. Then we get some unpleasantness. So what do we do? We put ourselves in the middle of where it is kicking-off (figuratively if not physically), that's what. Police, residents, bystanders, displaced traders, and maybe even the protesters who were there because their mates made them and weren't sure about it all - they all need support. Christians offer support and hope, it is what we do, it's our flag -
... so we get in there and support and we offer our hope using every trick and tool to our grasp. No 'ifs' no 'buts'.