It’s not my cup of tea

It’s not my cup of tea

I’m not a great lover of some teas like Typhoo or Co-op99, and as far as Green Tea is concerned, don’t get me started! It might be a healthy option but it tastes like grass steeped in water to me! I do like Yorkshire Tea but Yorkshire Gold is even better. Then there’s loose tea in artisan tea shops for even better taste. Not that I’m a tea snob or even a connoisseur you understand. Coffee is another matter altogether. I have real coffee now and again but never instant! It’s just not my cup of tea!

 

At our recent parish away day led by Canon Erik Wilson, we explored where God may be leading us in a prayerful bid to renew our vision. Three clear areas emerged for us to continue praying and thinking about. These were:

  • Worship and Prayer – to “Seek First the Kingdom of God”
  • Gifts – discovering and using them
  • Outreach – to make Christ known beyond the walls of the church.

Clearly we are all different, have different tastes in worship, different gifts and different ideas about what to do. The challenge we face is to unite us in a coherent and cohesive vision. We may offer differing styles of worship and opportunities to serve Jesus which is good, but are we also a disparate group of churches doing too much? That said, we don’t want to become a homogenised bland church either.

 

No one has a monopoly on the right style of worship or type of service. St Oswald’s may be more traditional and St John’s less formal and St Thomas’ informally traditional. That’s fine, but are we relevant? Have we become too comfortable for our own good, or even stuck in our ways and therefore not actually reaching out to new people? One of the pictures shared was that we have a strong, loving and welcoming body, but the limbs don’t quite work together. It was said we have a lot happening and clear that the Holy Spirit is present, but we may be stuck and uncoordinated.  Do you recognise this?

 

The challenge is that while we have different qualities, abilities, talents and spiritual gifts, we are not all the same. (1 Corinthians 12). How then are we to embrace those gifts, build people up in those gifts and release them to serve God through the life of the church. This is not about trying to do more but about being clear what we should be doing and sharing together in that work.

 

The scriptural backdrop for our day was Nehemiah. His wholehearted worship to God was to rebuild the walls of Jerusalem and stay faithful. In Exodus God instructs Moses to  ‘Go to Pharaoh and say, “Thus says the Lord: Let my people go, so that they may worship me”. In Romans 12 Paul bids “offer your bodies as a living sacrifice which is your true worship”. What then, is our wholehearted and true worship to God? To stay and remain where we are, or to be built up and be released so that in all that we are and do, we will worship the Lord and remain faithful?

 

In the coming weeks I invite you to continue to explore these themes and how we might move forward to fulfil our vision for the Parish. (A fuller report of the day is available). I am particularly concerned that we realise our call to make Christ known beyond the walls of the church. To do this we should always seek God’s will and God’s ways first. Erik suggested that if you have thoughts on this, to make a note of them and share them with me. Furthermore, I have invited Erik to preach at the joint service on Sunday 30th June at St John’s and to stay with us for the parish picnic.

 

With every blessing

Nigel Chapman – Vicar