The Crowded House – Day 10

I spent most of the day at a street party on South View Crescent, where 3 families from TCH live.  The gospel community that meets there have taken the initiative to bring others together for a street party.  I encountered a lot of positive response and acknowledgement that this was a good thing they were doing.  The street party took the form of a road closure and a long row of table down the street with music, painting and a jumping castle for kids and big kids.

I had a great opportunity to tell people on the street about TCH, as many people were intrigued that I would come all the way to Sheffield simply to visit a church.  I had a great opportunity to talk about TCH as a church that exists to bless the community and neighbourhood they find themselves in.  And even though some people were unsure if they could drink alcohol, there was generally a good vibe for the church and what they were trying to do.

I left the street party before the clean up because I was going with Amer to the gathering of the British-Asian and Kurdish teams.  This gathering works a little bit different, as at the moment there is no attempt to invite the unbelievers the teams are working with to join them.  It is a time aimed at refreshing and growth for the teams, although as people come to faith they would try to integrate them into the life of the Christian community.

The concern is that they wish to create church as it is appropriate for Kurdish or Asian people, rather than exposing them to a UK, Western style of church, which would then create in them expectations or preconceived notions of what church should be.

They were busy with a series entitled Love God, Love People, Love Live.  We looked at Matthew 6, in order to discuss what it means to love people.

We had a very challenging discusion on what it means to give to everyone who asks.  Admitting that often we hide behind “good stewardship” or “wisdom” (which are both valid biblical concepts) in order to blunt the radical edge of this passage.  I still wonder what it would mean in South Africa to give to everyone who asks, or if indeed I should?  I think the better questions is what would it mean to love that person? Often it is not money that is the most costly thing we can give.  We often point out that to give money in some situations might not be loving or best.

But then we do nothing… to love that person will probably always mean doing something.  If we are convinced it is not loving to give money (and I think we often arrive at that conclusion too quickly), then it means we have to be getting alongside them, getting into their world and loving them.

Our dichotomy is often between giving or not giving money.  Perhaps our choice is more like giving ourselves, which may include money and giving ourselves which will not include money right now?

Allowing for the complexities of that question, let us return to the original command to give to all who asking without expecting anything in return.  If we were to give like this displays a trust that depends on God rather than on what I can provide or fund.  Is it not wisdom that believes that if I give it all away then only God can give me more?  That believes we are in fact more blessed when we give than when we don’t?

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~ by John on July 24, 2009.

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