New Year’s Resolutions, cleaning the house, putting away the Christmas decorations (yes we use a quasi-Methodist calendar, so ours have departed to the recesses of the garage for another year), preparing for the first week back at work or school – these are all pressures we face at this time of the year. What about in Church?
Within the Methodist Church we have services focussed upon the Covenant – our promise to God to serve him and all within the Church in the year ahead. It is a wonderful time when we say:
I am no longer my own but yours,
Your will, not mine, be done in all things…
I willingly offer all I have and am, to serve you, as and where you choose.
(MWB, p. 288-289)
Sometimes we have services where we dedicate an aspect of the Church: whole (new-build) chapels, partial re-builds of the old building or notice boards. The latter may highlight an important aspect of the Church’s mission to the local area.
Last Sunday many Churches read from the Lectionary:
I was hungry…in prison…naked (Matt 25:31-46)
Given our society currently with such poverty, social injustices and travesties which affect so many of the society within sight of our churches, I wonder have we lost our perspective?
As we just celebrated (and some will continue to do so until Candlemas) the incarnation of Christ, the birth of Christ within our world, born in meagre surroundings – not with regal fanfare, but straw, amidst the animals – what if Jesus were born amidst our society today? Where would you see Jesus born today?
In the 1970s Liberation Theology emerged predominantly from Latin America as the political and economic scandals, leaving millions starving, living in absolute poverty and without the necessary medical care, and the church started to take action. Where was it before that? What was it doing?
The Portuguese word for liberation is liberação which is composed of the
root liber or free and ação the word for action.
When we hear of scandals today, portrayed in the media, why isn’t the church proclaiming it, taking action?
I am reminded of Deacon Tracey Hume who handcuffed herself to the railings to protest at the sanctions applied cruelly to those seeking
benefits. Not only is she making waves in the media,
highlighting the facts to many others, but her work also has helped and supported so many people whose benefits have been stopped incredulously.
Is it time we also looked at the way the Church acts as a whole? Do we have time for services which commemorate a noticeboard or a new building, or will God’s church, his people, move and act to support:
Support the weak; bind up the broken; gather in the outcast; welcome the stranger; and seek the lost. (MWB p 323)
What are your thoughts?
[MWB refers to the
The Methodist Worship Book (Peterborough: Methodist Publishing House, 1999)]
[The quasi-Methodist calendar is my interpretation 😉 ]