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Vision Day: Stress, Laughter and God

January 28, 2017

God seems to me to have a great sense of humour. But then I love jokes, which is just as well because it often feels as though I’m living in one. I needed a sense of humour as I started to read the report on sexuality by the Church of England but I need to read it through properly before saying more.

When I feel, stressed I often turn to humour and to be honest I’ve also been a little stressed about the Vision Day for my churches coming up this Sunday.  A bit more about the Vision Day later but first a joke that made me giggle, it’s from an American website which explains the ending:

A woman had just returned to her home from an evening of church Services, when she was startled by an intruder. She caught the man in the act of robbing her home and yelled: ‘Stop! Acts 2:38!’ (Repent and be baptized, in the name of Jesus Christ, so that your sins may be forgiven.)

The burglar stopped in his tracks. The woman calmly called the police and explained what she had done.

As the officer cuffed the man to take him in, he asked the burglar: ‘Why did you just stand there? All the old lady did was yell a scripture to you.’

Scripture?’ replied the burglar. ‘She said she had an Axe and Two 38s!’

Knowing Scripture can save your life – in more ways than one!

As I said, that made me giggle, and then things slipped back into perspective. The Bible can indeed save my life in lots of ways, one of those is to remind me that this is God’s work that I’m trying to do and so the stress, if any, is His and not mine.

Thankfully, I am simply called to be a servant of Jesus. As a servant of Jesus I am then to care for Jesus people, God’s family. To do that I have only two priorities, discipleship and mission. I’ll explain: When Jesus was asked how we should live he said  “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.” This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: “You shall love your neighbour as yourself” (see Matthew 22.36-40).

So, all that I do should be focused on helping me to love God more and to show that love in the way that I care for those around me. This is true for the Church around the world, the Church nationally and the Church here in my country parishes; it is true for all people, whether they know it or not.

So when I talk about my only priorities being ‘discipleship’ and ‘mission’, what I mean is living that simple guidance from Jesus. For me, ‘discipleship’ is about learning to love God and ‘mission’ is about learning to love my neighbour. Or as my churches say on our website, we are:

Learning to put Jesus first

Sharing love & Good News

All this can sound simple, it can be written down in only a few words, but discipleship and mission are far from simple when I try to live them. At the Vision Day we will be seeking for ways to help us to be better disciples and to be better able share God’s love in our town and villages. The town and villages of this benefice each have a different character, as have the churches that serve them. God has made us different.

So, my prayer is for the Vision Day to be a new start for me and the people here. So that all of us can listen together to the Spirit. So that we can find ways that work for us and the people we serve to love God and to love our neighbour. We will also be asking to be shown how we can to support one another more.

God loves the people in our town and villages, so we will be turning to him to discover his plans that will ensure that his church has a future here, in our hearts, and out there in this world.

Another joke to end:

A man in London decided to write a book about churches around the country. He bought himself a campervan and set off.

He started at Holy Trinity Brompton (HTB), a very large church, he began taking photographs and making notes. As he did, he spotted a Golden Telephone on the wall and was intrigued with a sign, which read “Calls: £10,000 a minute.” Well HTB has a lot of rich members but £10,000 a minute is still pretty steep! So he found someone from the church and asked about the Golden Telephone. He was told, “It’s £10,000 a minute because that’s a direct line to God”. The man had lots of questions for God and was tempted to try the Golden Telephone but he just didn’t have that kind of money.

As the man travelled round the country, he found more Golden Telephones in cathedrals and important churches. But each time, the cost was £10,000 per minute, or even more.

Finally, the man was came to Norfolk and stayed in the Swan Inn in Harleston. While there he visited a little church. There on the wall was the same Golden Telephone, but this time it said, calls are free. The man was amazed and thankfully there was someone tending the flowers, so he asked about the Golden Telephone. He said, “I’ve been travelling all round the country and I’ve found lots of Golden Telephones like this one. Each time I’ve been that told it’s a direct line to God, but in all the others it’s £10,000 a minute, or even more. How come it’s free here?”

The woman, smiling said, “Your in Norfolk now, God’s own county, it’s a local call and free with the phone.”

Of course, I have to add that it would be free in Yorkshire too!

But jokes aside, we all have a direct line to God. I plan to use mine to learn to love God more and my neighbour too. What about you?

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