I was in a card shop the other day and there on display were Christmas cards. Summer’s just ending!
For many of us Christmas is a long way off but it reminded me of the saying - God is for life, not just for Christmas.
Come Christmas it can be standing room only in our churches in Brechin, but on most other Sundays throughout the year those of us in church could probably all fit into just one building, and the front pew/seats would still be empty.
For the vast majority of people God only features in their lives at particular times of the year like Christmas, hatch, match and despatch occasions, or at times of pain, suffering and tragedy when they feel helpless.
Statistics from the last census seem to indicate, however, that the majority of people in Scotland believe in something outside of themselves, be it God or Spirit, but they don’t belong to a church. If this is true what are we in the church doing wrong? If God is vital to our lives and the church is where we are able to talk and share about God, Jesus, the Bible, faith, etc., why don’t others want to be part of this?
Christmas is a long way off, thankfully, but in the coming months before Christmas we have, in our churches, an opportunity to think carefully how we are going to make the most of the opportunity of (almost) full churches at Christmas-time. How will we, ‘market’, the good news of Jesus?
A book I’ve been reading may help, ‘How to be a bad Christian … and a better human being’, by Dave Tomlinson. If you’re struggling with traditional religion then I’d recommend this book. If you think you’re not a good Christian, then it’s easy to be a ‘bad’ one. Dave Tomlinson writes from his experience as an Anglican vicar whose own life has been enriched by non-church people seeking that something many of us call God.
In the months leading up to Christmas perhaps we could, through Brechin Churches Together, organize a weekly chat group using this book to get our heads round this God who’s vital to our lives, and who I believe can make a difference to others. You know it might be the kick-start our churches need to encourage those who come just at Christmas to get a taste of this God who can and does change lives.
Just imagine Sundays in 2015 with front pews/seats full and people coming early for a back seat; or am I only dreaming?