Vanishing Community?

Posted: 21 January 2008 in On the Pilgrim's Road
Tags: , ,

Wanda in conversation after the serviceCommunity, kinship, clan – big things in Uganda. All gone in UK? Well, Bill got a surprise in a recent church visit to St Mary’s in Hayes, Kent. We know a couple at the church well, from days of old, and went to their son’s wedding at St Mary’s Hayes. Bill lived locally when he was young, and have been in the church in the past. Bill sang in an amateur choir elsewhere with a couple from the church. A parishioner came up to Bill and Wanda me and said she knew Bill from his teenage days when he was a good friend of her son. Etc, etc. The reception from that church was warm and they are keen to maintain the Link, now it is established. Go to another church where they don’t know you from Adam and connecting with people is just harder work.

Childhood friendship, weddings, being local, doing something together. UK or Uganda – these things are powerful and leave a trail years and years later. Just as well, for that is how the Gospel is transmitted in most cases. From person to person. In relationship, not cold calling. In the gospel of John chapter 1, there is a whole chain of relations. It starts with John the Baptist who startlingly announces that his cousin waiting in the queue for baptism is none other than “The Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the World” v29. The next day, when the Baptist was sitting with his disciples, Andrew and another disciple, sees Jesus strolling down the street he says it again “The Lamb of God” v36.

Andrew doesn’t need telling a third time. He’s up and away, taking with him an un-named disciple to Jesus. That night, Andrew tells his brother about Jesus, saying extravagant and dangerous things about Him (The Messiah) v41. Then Andrew takes Simon Peter to see Jesus, that very night. The very next day, Andrew’s fellow townsman, Phillip hears of Jesus and meets him. Jesus says “follow me” v43b. Phillip then tells his chum Nathanael. Who in turn is introduced to Jesus, who again says “You will see” v51.

Friendship, kinship, common activity. These are the most powerful channels of the Good News. We were surprised that some connections in St Mary’s Hayes, either small, or old’n’cold, came to life. To amend Bill Clinton in 2000, “It’s people, stupid!”

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