Last night a number of us spent time in Billesley, taking photographs for a presentation which we’ll be sharing on Sunday morning at a family service focussed on prayer for our community. We spent some time listening to our soundtrack, Gungor’s ‘Beautiful Things’ which you can listen to here. And then we went off to find some appropriate images which would give expression to the theme of the song, the idea of God birthing something new and lovely in the midst of the apparent chaos and failure of our own lives.
As we set off, I had in mind some words which I read recently in Alan Roxburgh’s recent book, Missional. Much of the book is a prolonged reflection on Luke 10’s account of the sending of the seventy, where Roxburgh argues for a shift in thinking about mission, a new orientation focussed not on attracting people to a pre-defined package on offer from church but rather listening and responding to the ways and means God appears to be at work in our community. Roxburgh suggests that, ‘... the primary way to know what God is up to in our world when the boundary markers seem to have been erased is by entering into the ordinary, everyday life of the neighbourhoods and communities where we live.’
Next Sunday morning will provide us with the opportunity to think in more detail about where and how God is at work in our community, as we listen to members of our local policing team and others involved in the Third Sector. My hope is that it will challenge some of our preconceived notions about the problems in Billesley – after all, how can we show God’s love to those around us, if we don’t show some love ourselves, love which starts with listening?
If anyone out there has stories to share on Sunday morning, it would be good to hear from you...