SATNAV can get you to places, Google can tell you all about the place and you can text each other when you get lost there! But to get to the heart of a community, discover who lives there, and to find what makes them the people they are, then you have to meet face to face, listen to their stories, and share in their hopes and fears. I think God taught us this 2000 years ago – already in the world, but coming to share our human life as Jesus.
Lynne and I visited Gloucestershire last weekend, a part of our country we had not been before, and knew very little about. So, to share a weekend there was exciting and we learnt such a lot about our Christian heritage there, and what URCs are doing today in building God’s kingdom.
We spent Saturday in Gloucester, visiting the beautiful cathedral and experiencing the long Christian tradition in the city. Yet we were dismayed that like many of our cities today, in all the myriad of Christmas decorations in the streets and shops, there was actually nothing Christmas about them at all. Christ has been taken out of Christmas.
In contrast we visited two of our churches, Rodborough and Dursley, both Whitefield Tabernacles. Established after George Whitefield’s 18th Century preaching tours – chapels born in the zeal of evangelism. Here we were so encouraged to visit churches still reaching out into their communities, sharing the good news and serving the needs of their towns and villages. They are putting meaning back into Christmas!