What’s good about being a Christian?
Share things that are valuable including significant answers to prayer in recent weeks
Christianity is good for the soul! The Gospel is good! This Church is a place of purpose in a confused world, a place of belonging in a lonely world.
If this good news is going to get around some more the church has got to grow and draw in the next generation.
Do you think we at St. Giles have something that the friends we care for are missing out on?
We need to believe this if our prayer and our invitations for them to join us are to be wholehearted.
How can we help the church grow?
A question we do well to ask ourselves is how we would feel if our best friend came with us to Church? Would we feel embarrassed about what and who they encountered? If so, why should we feel so?
What wisdom is there so far as the revitalisation of faith and our need to work for church growth in today’s Gospel?
Behind the questions and answers lies a trap set for Our Lord which touches on the relation of the believing community to its surrounds.
In the story we see the Pharisees making common cause with the Herodians who supported paying tribute to
against the Zealots who didn’t, hoping
to put Jesus in the wrong with one side or the other. They ask ‘Is it permissible to pay taxes to Caesar or
Our Lord’s reply does not actually make a choice between the two parties. It accepts the reality of Caesar’s rule, without touching on the question of its validity. Give back to Caesar what belongs to Caesar – and to God what belongs to God.
Keep responding to God’s claim, Jesus says, whilst never forgetting the claim of the world around you.
To be effective in our mission as his Church we need an ever-deepening confidence in God allied to an ever-deepening humility before both God and neighbour.
We can’t escape those dual obligations – to God and to Caesar. It’s up to each individual and each religious community to balance these obligations. To ignore God denies us our distinctive of godliness. To ignore Caesar – read the human community to put it into today’s language – is to make our religion sectarian and destructive.
We live as Jesus did in a culturally diverse society. As such we can’t avoid speaking two languages. Our Christian Faith is the language of ‘identity’ – it makes us what we are as God’s people seeking godliness through word, sacrament and fellowship. Our shared citizenship demands we speak the language of our community.
If religious communities don’t engage with their wider communities and seek to speak their language they become sectarian.
To paraphrase Our Lord with a slant to St. Giles, we need to give society its just service, throwing ourselves as a Christian community into the fray of Horsted Keynes and its surrounds, whilst giving God his due by building up our confidence as a distinctively Christian community.
As your parish priest I need to encourage you to work on both aspects.
For St Giles to grow we need an eye to both God and the community. We need to firm up our confidence in God by getting ourselves deeper into our worship and schooled more in the Scriptures. However bad a name religion has got we cannot escape the call we have to be better and firmer Christians.
To be a Christian is to have confidence in God – and humility before him and before people.
A Christian who’s humble without confidence in God has no missionary potential.
A Christian who’s every confidence in God yet lacks humility before other people and their view of things is a danger to our cause!
In particular failure to be sensitive to the needs of our community and speak its language will show us up to be less than Christian in the sense of working for human and social flourishing.
Today’s Gospel makes clear the separate demands of God and man upon us as Christians but those demands flow together. Our Lord brought these conflicting demands together in his own body in his sacrificial death for us upon the Cross.
Through what he has done for us, which we recall at every eucharist, he builds our confidence in God and lends us his own humble love for people.
In this Eucharist he is waiting to touch us in our heart of hearts, so we can touch others for him!
May the Sacrament we share refresh in us the purpose for living and the reason for dying given to us in our risen Lord.
As God makes himself so near to us may he make himself near to the people of this community.
The Gospel is good! This Church is a place of purpose in a confused world, a place of belonging in a lonely world.