We have passed the winter solstice! On Wednesday, as I was writing this, it was mid-winter. The days will now be getting longer, as we head towards Spring. How did that happen? Time seems to rush past…
As our building project at St. Mark’s nears completion, and our beautiful renovations of St. John’s Sacristy, the time has come for us to consider once again, how we use our buildings, in the service of God’s holy Rule – the Basileia – (to use the Greek word – meaning the time when all things are under God’s rule of love).
I have suggested to the wardens and the Parish Council that we take some time to discuss and deliberate about what we need to use our buildings for. There have already been a number of requests from people in the community, to use the rooms at Balnarring for community groups. I am certainly not opposed to this, in certain circumstances, and I believe that such agreements can build relationships with the wider community; but I also think we need to be clear, that church use has priority over anything else.
Meanwhile, we will reflect on how to be Church in our local places.
Last Sunday, in my sermon, I spoke about the ways we each need to respond to the invitation of Jesus Christ, to be a part of God’s mission in the world. I used the saying:
“It is often said that God’s Church has a mission,
But it is more accurate to say
that God’s mission has a Church.”
This week’s gospel reading is a collection of Jesus’ sayings and teachings. It is challenging to read them all strung together. They are important, because they may indicate to us some of what the Basileia – the Kingdom of God – might be like.
Jesus emphasises the unity and the bonds which are the most powerful in life. The links between him and his followers ought to take precedence over everything else! This is also a warning – those who wish to silence him will also be out to silence his followers.
Yet, Jesus’ words are also reassuring:
29 Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground unperceived by your Father.
30 And even the hairs of your head are all counted.
31 So do not be afraid; you are of more value than many sparrows.
He emphasises what the Kingdom actually is – a rule of love.
So much of what is said is to challenge and to warn – but ultimately, our God is Love. That is what we believe. Whatever way we decide to proceed in our two beautiful centres, that must always be our message!
Enjoy watching the lengthening of the days, and stay warm and safe.