First of all, thank you for inviting me to share my thoughts with you, now that I no longer live in Manchester, but in South Warwickshire. I have so many good memories of my time in your circuit.
I recently attended a conference based on the teaching of Jesus that his followers are to become the ‘salt of the earth’ or, as one of the lecturers put it, ‘salt in the earth’.
We were reminded that another uselessness of salt is not just over-dilution but that of just keeping it in the bag! But then came the challenge. Are we too church building centred, focussing our activities in getting people to come to us, rather than reaching out to them? We need as if to view the world through differing lenses, not just traditional ways, which will enable us to be more like Jesus in mixing with those around in the world.
I was reminded of a conversation with a ‘bouncer’ who was to be best man at a wedding. At the rehearsal, we used the smaller doors, through the large coffee bar as the way into the church. On the way out, he asked, ‘What’s all this lot then?’ I explained about all the activities and the people who came, especially to eat, to have company. ‘What sort of people?’ I assured him that all were welcome and in astonishment, he said, ‘Do you mean people like me? There were indeed people like him, but it was clear that he thought that church was only for certain types. Perhaps this is the view of many people in our country today.
There is much activity happening already, but maybe we need to ensure that we are never just ‘salt in the bag’, but rather, model our faith on the Jesus who lived among all kinds of people.
Prayerful best wishes,