The Advent Challenge: Who can come in?
As we started Advent I was imagining what a guilty innkeeper might feel like in the Christmas story: “I told them there were no rooms available because of the Government decree that we are in ‘lockdown’”!
It’s sad, isn’t it, when a couple of dressed up manakins can make me feel so bad? We opened the church doors to put Mary and Joseph on display, but anyone in real need might be locked out in the cold standing among the lights, trees and message wishing passers-by a “merry Christmas” from Broadway United Reformed Church.
We want to step outside the church doors and put some light into the darkness, but others want to come in, out of the cold to find some spiritual shelter. Mary and Joseph, homeless and hungry, with no money, no phone and nowhere to call home and I send them away. Should I love them as neighbours and welcome them close or love at a distance and keep more neighbours safe?
In the Christmas story the homeless couple take shelter in a stable, but did they find it for themselves or were they shown it by a compassionate Innkeeper? There is a message there!
As we start Advent with amazing Nativity displays I realise I don’t have to turn people away because the challenge is to look for alternative ways of sharing God’s love. A stable in the yard isn’t ideal. A shed in the garden isn’t the best nor is a space in the garage, but the message is to find a new way of being Church in community!
The Government decrees that we are stuck with three tiers with people locked in and others locked out, but we can walk through the doors with the alternative Church that gives life to God’s love!
It is hard to understand reasons behind all the legislation and why some things can happen and others can’t. It’s difficult for people who have to interpret it all and make decisions on our behalf. We will resume Sunday services again this week but I feel like the guilty innkeeper who keeps others waiting out in the cold when they need somewhere to go! Sorry, the government decrees some doors must remain locked!
One of our members met someone outside church who was remembering with sadness how her husband died a year ago. Our member wanted to invite her in to Church for a prayer, but she thought she wasn’t allowed to because of the guidance. The woman went away with her grief and we can feel like guilty Innkeepers because the door wasn’t open, but did God meet her where she was in the conversation that was had?
We want to open the doors on a Thursday and welcome back people who want to look after themselves, spiritually, mentally and physically and, to be honest, we feel like the guilty innkeeper who says there is no room for such activity. The Government decrees…. We are still trying to work that one out and understand why some things can happen and not others.
What we do know is that we can meet for communal worship so we will resume services at 1030 on Sunday morning. If you want to come this week, or other weeks, please let me know so we can plan the seating in advance.
This week will be a communion service led by myself
The following week, 13th, will be led by the Worship Group.
On Sunday December 20th it will be a service of Poems and Prayers; Readings and Reflections at 10-30 and we are thinking of a service of Doorstep Carols led from the front of Church at 4pm. I would like to know if anyone would be prepared to be part of a socially distanced choir.
There will also be a short service at 1030 on Christmas Day.
PLEASE REMEMBER TO LET ME KNOW IF YOU WANT TO ATTEND ANY OF THESE SERVICES.
We will attempt to Zoom the services and plans with any responses will be attached with the Friday letter and Zoom link details. We will also meet as usual for an evening or prayer and reflection at 6pm on Friday.