Like many people, I love visiting and seeing new places. I love learning from new cultures and languages. To have these experiences though, one needs to travel. While there are different modalities of travelling, the easiest, fastest (yet) and by far the safest means is by air. But there is a problem, I don’t always enjoy flying.
Last Saturday wasn’t quite what you might expect for a summer’s day. It was around 11 degrees at 10:00 in the morning. It was grey and cold. It was raining, but not in a pleasant, warm, summery sort of way. I found myself wishing I had a jacket and not just the raincoat I had packed. It was a day of the week though, so perfect for fishing. While I couldn’t see into the water to spot fish clearly, I watched my line unroll as I cast into a likely flow, the fly landed pleasantly on the surface, and I thought “that cast deserves a fish to eat it.” A fish didn’t eat it though.
Anyone who has attended a large event such as the recent Will Graham Outreach event that was held at the Launceston Silverdome would be familiar with the varying levels of access that are provided to staff and volunteers associated with this type of event. The security system used included identification in the form of different coloured shirts, prayer volunteer cards, and all access cards that permitted access to the entire venue with no questions asked by security personnel. This is like the access level that God has to our lives. Being omnipresent, He has unhindered access to every aspect of our lives. He knows our innermost thoughts, sees all that we do, hears all that we say. God has the ultimate ‘all access’ card.
For many people, making a decision to attend a church is a significant and potentially daunting decision. As they come through the front door they are entering an unfamiliar environment. It is also an environment that may be associated with preconceived ideas of what the expectations and rules of the church community may be. These people probably will not know anybody and they might have concerns that relate to their previous or current lifestyle. For those of us who are regular church attendees, it is possible that we may not fully appreciate the challenges a new attendee may be facing. When we can relate to these concerns, I believe we are better equipped to provide a warm and patient “welcome” to what we hope will become their new church home.
Physical illnesses and stressful events are endemic in our society. They can be likened to the thorns that cause both pain and damage. It doesn’t take much for them to impact a person’s life in ways that they did not expect. I believe that we can become more resilient as followers of Jesus by applying an appropriate solution to a known problem. I believe that an appropriate and important part of the solution is for us to show love the way that Jesus demonstrated love during His ministry on earth.