Jesus welcomes us home!

 25 July 2020 |

There’s a hymn Christians sing, about what the church is: it is where God is praised, where we are wanted and loved, where we try to live and to share out God’s good news. In all its four verses it never talks about the church as a building. And yet for a great number of people, it is just that: a building. Or if its not just a building, it’s the people who go to the building. One of my other favourite hymns is “The love of God is broad like beach and meadow” which talks about the wideness of God’s love reaching out beyond our narrow horizons, and always reminds me of sunny summer holidays, walking the dog along the strand, building sandcastles in the sand or playing rounders or cricket with the incoming sea a constant threat to being bowled out.

Many of the older churches around are not very full these days; even at Christmas not all services or worship are as full as they once were.

You wouldn’t have thought, six months ago that people are now seeking our church communities, and other communities of worship, and reaching out to the many websites, that have replaced our closed church buildings. Church is now on line, through websites, and on social media; whether it be Facebook, TikTok or Twitter, the need to keep in touch has been profound. Will the churches rise to the challenge and offer love, meaning and hope in these troubled times? I think failure will mean that the good news Christians want to talk about – by sharing, loving, giving meaning and significance to peoples’ lives – will be an opportunity gone.

Jesus worshipped in synagogues and, at festival time, in the temple at Jerusalem; but more often than not, you’d find him in the streets and in people’s homes, ministering in word and action. In the words of the hymn we started with, the church is where everyone is accepted, “whatever their background, whatever their past and whatever their pain.” Jesus welcomes us home!