Team Rector's letter February 2019

rectorstroudwater@gmail.com                                The Rectory, Church Lane

                                                                                 Leonard Stanley, GL10 3NP

                                                                                 07466 858 975                                                                                                                       

 February 2019

I was attending the funeral of a stalwart member of one of our churches the other day. Through the pain of loss, the tears, the questioning, the mourning, I saw something at work which is deeply important to us as human beings, real community. Rev Liz spoke of the support the family had received from the church, the wider family and community packed the church out. In a couple of situations after the funeral, I witnessed care and concern for the lovely lady who had been bereaved; this was community at work.

The Zulus in South Africa have a word ‘ubuntu’ which roughly translated means ‘I am because we are’. This African sense of humanity places huge emphasis on community. This is so true, we are all who we are as people because of the community around us.

In an amazing piece I read a little while ago, the writer said that 10 percent of the members of a community can affect the tone and atmosphere of the rest of that community, all it takes is 10 people in a hundred to make a difference.

I am sure we could site cases where a disruptive minority had a huge impact, but let’s look at that another way, a small number of people can change a community for the better.

So – a loving community is important, we are profoundly shaped by the community of which we are part, a relatively small number of people can influence a community for the better. This is good news, we can be a force for change.

Let’s think spiritually for a few moments. On Sunday (the Baptism of Christ) I was sharing on how we can see the three persons of the Holy Trinity at work at the beginning of Jesus’ formal ministry; the Father affirming, the Son in obedience and the Holy Spirit empowering. Our understanding of God is that He is a community, at work in the world to draw people into His life and blessing. The privilege we are offered is to become part of that community of God through Jesus, that we are included in God’s life, not as rule followers, but grace sharers.

The church, you and I, are called into the community of God, not as a holy huddle, but to be transformed by God’s grace so that we can touch our communities with God’s blessing.

Rev Stephen Harrison