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Good News in a Mince Pie

December 6, 2014

On Friday night I was out in Harleston, sharing in all the festivities and fun as the Christmas lights were turned I was out with friends from the other churches in the town, giving out mince pies to share our celebration with others. I loved it. The party atmosphere, chatting to lots of people, the surprise on peoples faces when they were given a free early Christmas gift. I had lots of chats and quite a few people are more likely to join one or other of our churches to worship this Christmas. We were sharing in the party atmosphere and sharing the Good News. I don’t know if Friday night had anything to do with it but we had our busiest Messy Church ever on Saturday.

I was sharing the Good News by showing people that through his people God cares for them. But the beginning of the Good News of Jesus Christ, the Son of God, starts with a call to repentance, at least in Mark’s Gospel: “John the baptiser appeared in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins” (Mark 1.4).

That’s not a popular message today. In fact people take it as an affront that there could be anything wrong with them and their life. Whenever I see someone out on the street telling they are people sinners and calling for repentance I cringe. Not because of the message but because all of this effort is just driving people away from the kingdom, not drawing them in. If I thought that people today would understand and respond to that message, I would be the first to be out there. But no, l need to find another way, and mince pies is one, Messy Church and Christingle are others.

That said, affront or not, the Bible is right people do need to repent for the forgiveness of their sins. I need to repent for the forgiveness of my sins. I know that I’m not perfect – no one is. The point to me is that I want God to make me more and more the person I should be, the person I was born to be. That said all my failings get in the way. The chance to repent of all that’s wrong with me is a wonderful and life changing thing. It means that the creator of all things cares enough about me to take the time to work with me. If I were a cyclist it would be like Chris Hoy being keen to work with me – but better still.

The call to come to God and repent is a wonderful thing. But that is not how most people hear it. Most people just hear, “you’re rubbish” or worse still, “I’m better than you”! I think repentance is a wonderful thing but I don’t go and shout about it to those who don’t know Jesus because they won’t understand. I’ll just sound self-righteous. They’d just hear me saying, “look at me”, “I’m religious – you’re not”, “I’m better than you”.

That’s no real surprise, and nothing against the people I meet. Looking back I had to learn to love and trust Jesus before I was ready to share the less pretty side of me. It took time and lots of love, so why should it be different for others. Faith and religion are now so unfashionable in this country that I have to accept that people will need some convincing. They will need to see the difference that having Christ makes, then realise that perhaps they could have the same. Then, in God’s time the Spirit will open them to the possibilities for change ahead. I can only hope introduce a person I meet to the person of Jesus who is Good News. Then through the Spirit he will do the rest. He may use me. It may be someone completely different that is right to walk with Jesus along side that new Christian. However it happens it is down to God, and him alone.

So I will keep on giving out mince pies, love and care. I will keep on using anything I can to show that Jesus really is Good News. Good News for all people, they just need an introduction.

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