I have always gone to church.
Even living abroad as a child we were never really “HOME” until we had been to church with our Grandmother. Walking into the familiar building smelling the polish and the flowers. Aged Sunday school teachers telling us how much we had grown, genuinely pleased to see us. It was an anchor, a safe haven, it was home.
During my childhood I didn’t really think much about God, we sang, about him, heard stories of his sons adventures, knew he was to be feared and obeyed but mostly I knew I was loved. That God took me as I am. That he was there to protect me from evil.
Then I discovered David Livingstone. The story fascinated me. Imagine travelling as far as Africa to spread God’s word. How brave but there was the nagging doubt that maybe the people he visited didn’t want to be told of God? What if he had gone all that way and nobody listened to him?
Bringing this up with my dear, long suffering Aunt she pointed out that maybe he had gone to talk about the Son of God, Jesus Christ who had walked and lived among us.
The penny dropped and I realised that was what I was missing. I was concentrating on God this great big all consuming power but not really including Jesus in the equation. Doh!!! I hear you groan but it was the 70’s and I was only little.
Living abroad strengthened my faith because I was surrounded in people who believed, had conviction and prayed. BOY did they pray! Shouting from minarets, everything in the Arab way of life included prayer and God, from the greetings to the simple saying Inshalla “God Willing” . Churches where we lived were packed to the rafters often with several services a day and ranged from Catholic, C of E, Missionary Baptists and services could be in a number of different tongues – Tamil, Hindi, Urdu and even English!
But my faith was private one. I knew God held me in his hands and that he was in my heart but it was my God, my faith and unless I was asked a direct question I didn’t try to expand on my faith. If I am honest while I read my bible I struggled with quoting or remembering what came from where and if I spoke out would anyone challenge me? Ask me something I didn’t know the answer to?
So I decided my way of showing my faith was in serving. Always the first to make the tea, sweep the floor, tidy up after Sunday school that was how I would show my faith after all we are called to love and serve one and other! That was my excuse I stuck to it.
Life moved on and my faith never went away but I never really did anything to help it grow, I just took it for granted that it was there and I maybe didn’t read my bible enough or pray as much as I should have but that didn’t matter. Or did it?
Then my world collapsed and suddenly I was a single mum going through a divorce hundreds of miles away from my family. My whole approach to church changed. I would bring all my hurt and anger on a Sunday morning and throw it silently at the cross and plead for some understanding, some help and the strength to get through the following week. On occasion I would sob through a sermon, or hymn but I would always leave with the weight gone from my shoulders and strength and joy in my heart to take on the challenges to come that week.
Slowly week on week I let my church family in and took so much strength and support knowing I had people to turn to.
Then the Rector came up with an idea!!!!!!!!!!
Did I think I might like to be a Church Warden?