Now, here’s a thing…I’ve been doing these articles for just over 12 months or so, and this is number 52, I think. But, as lockdown begins to wind down (and there may be one or two more hiccoughs on the way!) it is maybe time to stop for a while.
What I have tried to do is offer something that is a little bit diverting, but hopefully interesting and in some way related to our lives as Christians in the world today. Looking back, they have covered people, history, philosophy, ideas, ramblings and, okay, old films.
There are two reasons for stopping at this point. One is because I am not sure that people are reading them that much anymore, if they ever did. The second more important reason is because we are coming out of lockdown and it is important that as much as possible we encourage each other to meet together and to share in person fellowship, prayer and the teaching of God’s word.
Now, we know that everybody’s circumstances are different and that people can only re-join meeting in person when their circumstances allow. Sadly for some, their opportunities may be very limited. But when we can, we should, we must meet together.
I read an article recently that noted that on-line Christian services on Youtube have been drawing the same sorts of numbers as rock stars. Good news, you might think, but it goes on to say that it is the larger churches, with the better production values that are drawing the crowds – ‘If you are going for on-line religion, why not go for the best?’ it says. The answer to that is that watching an on-line service does not make you part of a church, does not make you part of a fellowship.
We may well continue to record our services in some way, for the benefit of those who are part of our fellowship and cannot meet with us for some reason and also to give a good representation of ourselves on our website.
We need to think about our use of the word ‘service’, that nowadays has a multitude of different meanings. Very often in modern society churches as seen as some sort of service provider, a less important utility than some others, that provides a place for weddings, funerals and christenings and sometimes activities that meet other societal needs. Perhaps increasingly churches are also seen as providers of religious messages and worship ‘services’, with a dedicated and ordained few (often termed ‘clergy’ but also including musicians) providing a ‘service’ for others to receive, either in person or on-line.
We are not a service provider as such, we are a fellowship, a church – a body of believers who meet together in Christ Jesus and love, support and encourage one another in our faith and in practical ways also.
Part way through last year we realised that we were perhaps not keeping in touch enough with one another and that we needed a renewed commitment to that.
This week, God willing, we will be having our first communion in over 12 months a real step back to normality. Next week we will be re-starting ‘Our Space’ for the children to learn more about God. When we get the go ahead that it is safe we will be re-starting our live music and singing, something I think people will have really missed during the lock down period.
So, with all that going on, no-one will miss a weekly off-beat look at whatever comes into my head. And if you’ve got to the end of this this last article (for now at least), well, as Humphrey Bogart said in ‘Casablanca’ – ‘Here’s looking at you, kid’!
 ‘God the rock star’ – The Economist, April 3rd 2021