Spring Cleaning – not dusting and polishing literally, but Lord Carey, with years of experience as a vicar in Durham and later Bishop and Archbishop, encouraged a different outlook when he spent the day in Burbage.
There was a need to spring clean’ Christianity, to let the light in on areas of the church life, which need refreshing by looking at ourselves, at our communities and at Jesus, reports Joy Guy, churchwarden of All Saints.
There is only space here to mention some of the points Lord Carey made but you can hear the whole of his talks on the church website. It’s very easy listening.
Taking the Bible story of the storm on the lake (Matthew ch.14 v. 22-33), we saw how Jesus went off to pray alone at the end of a busy day – an example for us.
But in the storm, it was actually the disciples who felt ‘alone’ until Jesus rejoined them. In the same way, Christians are counter-cultural and a minority, something which can either make us tougher or leave us feeling inadequate.
Lord Carey also pointed out that the disciples were together in the boat — the Bible was written to communities — and explored what this can mean in a 21st century setting.
He described the church as a gathering of people who love Jesus, who want to spend time in his presence and to be used in his service – priorities which can be lost for so many reasons.
The church should be Godly, purposeful and integrated in the community, aware of the needs of different groupings in it and also that many have a ‘subliminal spirituality’ and are supportive though they may not identify themselves as church members.
We explored ways of sharing our experience of God with friends and neighbours who feel like this, both as we interact individually with them and where our corporate worship is concerned, being sensitive to what will best help everyone to come near to God.
Rounding off his theme, Lord Carey reminded us that, when, like today, society wandered away from God’s good news in the time of John Wesley, he saw possibilities, not problems, he was willing to face the cost of witnessing, he knew that prayer had to under-gird his work.
And that people needed to be taught the faith.
Finally, Lord Carey complimented All Saints saying we were in good shape, a healthy church with a strongly committed core and open to new ideas.
The 80 or so people who attended the day went home with a great deal to think about.