It’s June and summer has begun – apparently. Although I am not sure I have noticed anything that would confirm this weather-wise. There might be loads of summer clothes in the shops, there might be sports days and cricket matches, the Lido might well be open – but in terms of summer happening – well, the weather has yet to make an entrance!
Our church has just finished the Jesus Shaped People course. The course looks at different aspects of Jesus’ life and mission, and we are encouraged to follow his lead on issues such as social injustice, prayer or working together. And with this course has come all sorts of challenges and questions. Some of these were raised in our new housegroups, some were raised in sermons and talks, some came from one another. The aim of the course, however, was not to look inwards towards our needs as a congregation, but to look outwards towards our community and our world.
Something that struck me as we worked our way through the course was how easy it is for us to keep Jesus for church on Sundays. How easy it might be to simply go to a service for an hour or so and let that be sufficient. That approach would be exactly the sort of complacent hypocrisy Jesus condemns.
“Hypocrisy” is a word that often comes up when people think about church goers. People who talk the talk but don’t walk the walk, as it were. There are millions of wonderful, caring, helpful people who work to bring joy, justice and love to the world. You don’t have to be a Christian to behave in a Christ-like manner. Burley is filled with people who are kind and neighbourly, who might not feel they belong in church or would never profess to have a faith.
However, I believe that all good things come from God, and any small loving action is a sign of God’s greater love. And I also strongly believe that God is rather fond of us human beings and would rather like to get a bit more involved in our lives – which is massively to our benefit. And if I believe that, then I should try and live my life in a way that shows as much of this love to others (whoever they might be) as possible, in the hope that God might show up for them, too. And definitely not simply in church on Sunday.
As I noted at the start of this letter, it’s June and there are lots of signs of summer in the shops and the events but the weather itself is yet to show up as summery. We have no sun. It would be really tragic for our church if we had all the signs of Jesus being important to us, but somehow, when people look at us, Jesus just doesn’t show up. We have no Son.
So for all of us, this soggy summer, let’s try and bring some light and warmth to the world.