“When you enter a home, greet the family, ‘Peace’. If your greeting is received, then it’s a good place to stay.” Luke. 10. 5,6.
The new term at All Saints’ Halifax begins with a new baby and a baptism. The family are really excited, love the church, and are so looking forward to the event. It may be a stretch to get all the guests in alongside the regular congregation.
Getting everyone in and making sure that all receive something out of coming to church is what we’re about at All Saints’. Our vision, simply put, is to ‘meet God with family and friends.’ We weren’t the first to think along those lines, and our founding member was rather good at turning small acts of kindness into something that would eventually shift the world - turn it upside down. Think about the few mouthfuls of food that somehow stretched to feed several thousand people. (John chp. 6.)
It’s not the doing that’s the miracle, but the meaning. From that point on, there’s enough hope around for everyone to receive who wants to. The Church of God was commissioned to actively seek out anyone who was hungry, lost, forgotten, homeless or hopeless... and to spend time with them sharing the good news of a Saviour who cares, walked in their shoes, and has changed the rules of the game. The verse above is part of that commission.
As part of his teaching, Jesus asked his disciples to seek out ‘men or women of peace.’ The instruction was to go out and spend time with such people, and explain his mission. ‘Going out’ can mean many things, but essentially it requires Jesus’ followers to turn their hearts and vision to the needs of others. Such a call is demanding and puts our neighbours’ needs before our own. Initially that’s a tough thing to do for most of us, but the rewards of doing so are immediate and eternal. (Matt. 19.vs.21)
Recently, some members of All Saints’, who are mostly retired, began to organise into a group who ‘open the book’ for children. They dress up, make props and act out bible stories in school. It’s not complicated, no special gifts are required, only a time commitment and a desire to bring something good and worthwhile into others lives, and they are having a ball doing it. Most had never done anything like this before. As it happens our ‘open the book’ team will be bringing a bible story to the baptism service next month, and I for one, am looking forward to seeing it.
Beyond that, we hope that everything we do at All Saints’ is open and encouraging to all, from our worship and teaching to the cakes and coffees’ that come with a friendly face at the end of our services. So, we hope to see you at one of these services, or at an event near you this Autumn term – you will be very welcome.
Your friend in Christ, Steve