At the end of the 5 weeks, we had a mid week meeting open to all, where we spent the time in worship and listening to God. This was well attended by home groups and others from StB.
This blog post summarizes the evening and what we think God may be saying to us.
Three dominant themes repeatedly emerged, independently yet in harmony.
- Being something that turns people to look at God. The image is one where the crowds of people turn and stare in amazement at God. The question is whether we, individually or collectively, cause people to look at God? Is their experience one where they are impressed by God, or distressed about God? The challenge is for StB to be such that people turn and focus on God.
- Being an interface to the community around us. Within StB we are the body of Christ, with senses and a voice to interface with the community. The challenge is to explore what this interface is in form and function. At present the community perceives us as big, solid, stone walls with a tiny door, behind which they have little idea of what happens. We need to develop our interface so that we communicate. As William Temple said, "The Church is the only organisation that exists for the wellbeing and fraternity of its non-members"
- Being ready. This builds on (1) and (2), and was expressed through 4 independent and different words / pictures:
- The image of someone trying to sharpen a pencil with your fingernails: you can succeed but it's painful, frustrating, and not very effective ... it's the wrong tool.
- The impression that our motive should be the heart of God: the underlying motivation of what we do needs to be in tune with the heart of God ... what is moving God about our community?
- A picture with of a chain of tradition holding us which needs the links to be broken: what these traditions are was not expressed, but it reflects the idea that there are things we are holding onto that bind us.
- The phrase "Are you ready for this": whatever God might move to happen, are we ready in our structure, our leadership, and engagement as individuals to respond.
In addition, it is worth noting that at the last church council meeting everyone seemed to resonate to the phrase "get our house in order before moving on".
This paints a collective idea of "Be prepared". These are challenging words. To be prepared may be threatening to some, but the joy is that God is saying be prepared because he will cause something to happen.
One way to think of this is, its as if Jesus is asking himself the question ... "are they now prepared to face what they will encounter?" I don't think the answer is yet a solid "yes". We need to consider if it's time for each and everyone of us to get serious about some hard choices in relation to StB which are the heart of God for us.
The passage of Matthew 25:1-13 (although it's about the end times) has much to say about being prepared. So let us rejoice that God seeks to work in us and through us, and pray that we as a church will understand and move into what Jesus has prepared.