Lester Gillis, better known as Baby Face Nelson was a notorious gangster in prohibition era America. He specialised in Bank robberies and was noted for the violence which he meted out to anyone who got in his way.
When time and the NYPD finally caught up with him, he was put on trial and asked why he kept robbing banks even though he was top of the most wanted list. His reply was simple: “Because that’s where the money is.” Hard to argue with that one.
At a time when the church is dispersed perhaps like never before, it’s important to remember that the church isn’t a building nor is it an institution.
It is a movement: intimately connected, fully functioning and out in the world where God intended (intends) us to be.
We’re here not because that’s where the money or rewards might be found but because that’s where the real needs lie. We are living, as Christ intends, in our world and we are bringing something special to our relationships with those around us.
We are beginning to get used to living differently, taking the inconveniences of shortages and queues in our stride. We’ve come to terms with working from home, perhaps rediscovering some ways of relaxing we’d allowed to slip away. We can still worship together as we Zoom in on a Sunday morning, our isolation overcome through the technology that links us together and which enables us to experience the joy of seeing one another face to face.
We have adjusted our routines and adapted our outlook to accommodate many of these changes. We’ve rolled up our sleeves, worked out what we needed to do and then got on with it. We’ve seen the best in many yet sadly, have observed the worst in others. In unselfish actions and caring attitudes we’ve modelled the sentiments of our motto text for 2020, being the example (model) for others to follow.
When we feel we can take no more, when the numbers overwhelm us and when the reality of being where we are for the long haul kicks in, take encouragement from a recent year’s motto text:
I can do everything through him who gives me strength (Philippians 4:13)
We can overcome today because that is where God is. He’s helping us, supporting us, showing us and leading us. When our resources are depleted or exhausted, He’s still going. Let’s find our rest and our peace in Him, alongside the strength to carry on and let’s be the church that our nation and our communities need now.