Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Keep us from just singing...

This evening I went to an event organised by Churches Together.  We met in a room where there were displays of activities that take place across the town or parts of the town.

We then moved into the church for a time of praise, and updates from various organisations such as Open the Book, Food Bank, charity work, chaplaincies, winter shelter and Messy church - who shared a little of what was happening and points for prayer, before we broke into small groups to pray.

It was good to come together and celebrate the great things that are happening across the town, but we were encouraged not just to sing about helping others, but also to act.

The retail chaplain also challenged us when he spoke about work taking place before the fall. This surprised me, I had always concentrated so much how things went wrong, that I hadn't really paid any attention to the part when things were happening as God intended.  Not having a Bible to hand I did later invite the speaker to expand on his point, and he reminded me that God put Adam & Eve in the garden to work, not just to wander around.  I had completely forgotten that bit!  I did look it up when I got home, and sure enough in Genesis 2:5 it says 'Now no shrub had yet appeared on the earth[a] and no plant had yet sprung up, for the Lord God had not sent rain on the earth and there was no one to work the ground,'  and reading on I discovered in v 15 'The Lord God took the man and put him in the Garden of Eden to work it and take care of it.'  It was only when mankind started following their agenda, not God's, that things went wrong, and they got booted out of Eden. it was only after this that work became a battle not a joy.
 “Cursed is the ground because of you;
    through painful toil you will eat food from it
    all the days of your life.
18 It will produce thorns and thistles for you,
    and you will eat the plants of the field.
19 By the sweat of your brow
    you will eat your food
until you return to the ground,
    since from it you were taken;
for dust you are
    and to dust you will return.” Genesis 3:17b-19.

We are made for work, not idleness, but what work is God calling us to do?  I found myself listening to all the presentations, and thinking, how can this be done in the area my church serves?  Before we go blindly rushing in and imposing projects on people, we need to find out where the Holy Spirit is moving in our community, and join in.  

It was a very encouraging evening - a good chance to catch up with folks and to allow God to nudge us into action.  I have no idea how this will happen, or what shape it will take - watch this space...!