Last Sunday I travelled to York so was on home territory (at least I was within my home Synod). York is a geographically flat city but St Columba’s with New Lendal is a church with steps – steep ones – up to the front door and down to the halls. On Sunday morning there were queues for the lifts to get down to the coffee at the end of the service. As a church situated in the centre of a city it has looked for ways to serve that city in that location and as a result, five years ago they formed and registered their own charity, the St.Columba’s Community Foundation. Five separate and independent charities, all with a Christian basis, were invited to use the Church as a base for their activities. These charities have their own Trustees and their own aims and objectives. The Church’s facilities are provided free of charge and the Foundation continues to seek ways to develop this work encouraging and enabling others in their Christian witness.
The readings on Sunday included a passage from Acts telling the stories of Aeneas and of Tabitha and a passage from John’s gospel which recorded Jesus talking about ‘works’. Miracles and ‘works’. It seemed appropriate to remind ourselves that miracles were not just the preserve of 1st century Christians but that we are surrounded by them in our day-to-day lives if we care to look. The service included the baptism – by her minister grandfather – of twelve month old Annabel Grace who gave us an immediate example of a miracle. Babies and young children emphasise the miracle that is every human life. As adults we don’t give the matter much thought (until of course something goes wrong and we realise what complex beings we are and how fragile life can be).
I was interested in the accounts of the miracles in Acts. Luke tells the stories but makes no comment – there is no proclamation of the gospel in the accepted sense of the word but the actions of Peter we are told lead to ‘many believing in the Lord’. Other than that we are left to make our own conclusions.
Two weeks previously on Easter Sunday I was overjoyed to hear the United Reformed Church (amongst others) being quoted as a result of the Joint Public Issues Team’s publication – The Lies We Tell Ourselves: ending uncomfortable myths about poverty. I have since discovered that there are those who were less pleased, thinking that we should have shared the message of the gospel of resurrection on that particular day. Leaving aside the fact that the churches rarely if ever have the luxury of determining the content of the headlines these views led me to reflected on the link between ‘works’, resurrection and transformation. Maybe we all need to think more carefully about where we find God at work transforming lives, where he is calling us to join him and exactly what he is calling us to do.