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Silver Service for the Annual Parochial Council Meeting

VISION – REVELATION – SEEING WHAT GOD IS DOING

With thanks to @davewalker

The temptation in these times of turmoil is to turn inwards, to protect what we have, to lament over what we don’t have, to focus on buildings and maintenance and to fret over the gaps in the pews/seats caused by the passing of much beloved members of the congregation or demographic change.

But this does not equate with God’s vision for his Church.

God’s vision is not parochial. We are part of a bigger story which only starts local, but speaks beyond the four walls of the building to the whole world.

God’s vision is timeless, as his concern is with the whole of history, and not just getting us past the end-of-year financial statement for 2019.

God’s vision is inclusive, far beyond those who look like us, or – most challenging for me – think like us.

So we must cast off our insecurities and make God’s vision, our vision.

Our focus needs to be not just on the maintenance of what we have, but the building of what we most desire: a community that worships God and responds to the world in the light of that love.

This is a re-call to confidence. Confidence in our mission, in our place in the world and in the innate goodness of the Good News that we have to share. To provide a place where all ages, genders, orientations and colours can find a home, a place of inclusion around his blessed sacraments and his holy word and a place which reaches out to the needy in our midst not just with words, but with action. From the Nursing and Care Homes to the Schools and to those who struggle in poverty, addiction, debt or mental illness.

This is not easy. Many of us feel that we have had too much responsibility already. We have served our time, done our bit, and now it is a time to sit back and let someone else do all the work. Therein lies the problem.

Our churches are largely maintained by a small number of people doing a large amount.

Whereas because God’s vision is for the whole people of God, it should be a large number of people working together to do a little bit each.

There are many ministries in our Churches. Some carry statutory and legal responsibilities, some might seem trivial, many can be rota’d and shared between a large number of people. Many of these tasks are unseen, although some – such as making a contribution in worship – can be quite visible.

Very very few of these ministries require a Dog Collar. Which is good really, because that is the scarcest resource in this place.

Maybe you have served in a position of responsibility before, perhaps you were scarred by the experience because everyone just assumed you’d do everything from now on and you felt unsupported and bereft.

This is the time now when we have to reset our understanding of God’s vision, and recognise that we are called as the whole pilgrim people of God to seek out God’s mission in this world and work together – collaboratively – to grow this part of the Vineyard.

Heed God’s word, for us to be blessed.

Share God’s passion for his creation and all his people.

Work with me, and the whole body of Christ to grow outwards and cast aside out fears and feelings of tiredness and insecurity. Invest (in both time and – sorry to say it – money) in His plans and let us rebuild the kingdom, starting with the parochial and ending with the whole world.

Amen.