This is the first home we have lived in with an en-suite bathroom – certainly a first world blessing! Unfortunately the shower looks as though it suits more the showers that my dad had at the pit-head baths, and didn’t work much better either – fixed in one position from the ceiling, giving a blast of water that felt as though your skin was being stripped away, and at a temperature only I could bear. For eight years I managed to use it, but in the Autumn it finally broke and parts could not be found! Sometimes the Lord provides by taking away! It was agreed that a new shower could be fitted. It then proved difficult to get quotes, let alone a workman prepared to do the job. Eventually a plan was in place but it required a tiler to come and remove the old shower and tiles, then return later when the installation is finished; an electrician to wire it all up; and the plumber to put the shower in! It even needs me as a volunteer to take all the rubbish to the tip, and Lynne to keep the craftsmen plied with refreshments. Five people needed to install a shower, each needed with different skill sets, but needing to co-ordinate their time and work together to make it happen with the result – a bathroom fit for purpose and looking good! There must be a message here for the Church – when something is shown not to be fit for purpose, even broken – let’s pull together and pool the resources God has given us to repair the old or even create the new, and restore the beauty of God’s world.
It’s the same whether a door needs attention in a church building, or whether modern slavery needs eradicating from the face of the world. We watched again the very inspiring film, “Amazing Grace” – the story of William Wilberforce’s fight against the slave trade and then slavery itself. Someone who saw this at the cinema said how they wanted to stand and cheer when the victory was won! Although Wilberforce is certainly an inspiring figure himself, what comes over so powerfully is that it took many people to be committed to the cause, and to work and plan and sacrifice together – a hard fight, but it was possible when they were one in Spirit. For that’s how God’s Spirit works, working in individual lives, giving us all different talents and characters, and then working in, and through and beyond the Church as individuals are prepared to come together.
I know that as we begin to “Walk the Way” and rediscover what Discipleship means, we will see that discipleship is not just an individual’s faith journey, but is a shared experience of Christians living Christ’s risen life together. Ezekiel looks forward to this time, when the Lord says, “I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing. I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them……Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’ (Ezekiel 34:26-30)
Let there be Showers of Blessing!