You don’t have to go to Church to be a Christian….

Well that’s an argument I hear a lot of and one I myself used to use to my father when he used to talk to me about being a Christian. He used to say that as a Christian you should go to church and then he would talk about community and the body of Christ and how we come together to celebrate etc etc. I would just raise my eyes heavenwards or argue with him just for the sake of it.

But when I came down to Suffolk with my family and regularly started to attend church I began to realise what he meant. I found a place where initially I could meet people who were willing to listen, talk and share experiences about the village. This developed into something different into talking about and exploring what being a Christian means. Why is this important?

Recently I have met a lot of prophets who have told me the end of the church is nigh (it’s always 10 years)-I have heard ‘I have seen the future’, I’m told we are we are hurting and discriminating against this or that group, most recently LGBT. I am not coming to church because, I can help but… In all walks of life there is discrimination and by doing nothing we allow it to continue I was discriminated by workplaces because I was born in India, because I’m a Christian, because I’m a man. Evil exists because good people do nothing!

Well I am either not recognising these as true prophets or I am taking a different strand. I am inviting you all to get involved-I have written a letter to every household in our Benefice- “We have a wonderful Benefice choir, we have children’s and youth groups, we are developing a pastoral care support group-you can be part of this.” I would add if you want to join our prayer/house groups get involved or you have an idea that you think would be refused but haven’t bothered to ask your incumbent or warden-just try asking you may get a reply you weren’t expecting ‘yes’. If you get a no there may be a reason but don’t throw your toys out of the pram or walk away-Jesus never did, the Christians in Mosul haven’t, the Palestinian Christians haven’t and I won’t.

But there are many priests and church communities and individuals who are changing attitudes-I follow @DiverseChurch on twitter whose stories are amazing and there are others like them.

Taken from Faith Confirmed

The story of Jesus is not a fluffy story.

He was born in an obscure village, the child of a peasant woman.

He grew up in still another village, where he worked in a carpenter’s shop until he was 30.

Then for three years he was an itinerant preacher. He never wrote a book. He never held an office.

He never had a family or owned a house. He didn’t go to college. He never travelled 200 miles from the place where he was born.

He did none of the things one usually associates with greatness.

He had no credentials but himself.

He was only 33 when public opinion turned against him.

His friends ran away.

He was turned over to his enemies and went through the mockery of a trial.

He was nailed to a cross between two thieves.

While he was dying, his executioners gambled for his clothing, the only property he had on earth.

When he was dead, he was laid in a borrowed grave through the pity of a friend , and today he is the central figure of the human race, the leader of mankind’s progress.

All the armies that ever marched, all the navies that ever sailed, all the parliaments that ever sat, all the kings that ever reigned, put together, have not affected the life of man on earth as much as that

One Solitary Life.

God was present for me in my garden when I was angry as tears flowed down my face after my father died, God was present when I was a mess last year. My relationship with Christ, God and the Holy spirit is one of joy and great support and mostly and greatly of love.

So yes we do need to come together give thanks, to pray and to support one another in times of sadness and great joy as a community.

Revd David Messer