By Tom Belshaw
When I settle down to write a new sermon I find that the Holy Spirit is able to use all sorts of ways to prompt my thoughts. One way are the set scripture readings but also lots of the other sources such as books I have read, conversations with friends, TV and Radio programmes and certainly other sermons that I have listened to and services I have attended. This week my inspiration has come from two sources, our scripture readings and also a leaflet about our Street Pastors.
My theme has become “questions”; asking them and of course how we answer them and how God answers them.
I want us to think about asking the right questions and listening carefully for the answers we receive and not the ones we always want to hear. Both our scripture readings (Job 38: 1-7 & Mark 10: 32-45) are about questions and answers.
I want to move on to the second thing which set me thinking this morning, the Street Pastors leaflet. It is laid out as five questions about the Street Pastors and I wondered if we asked the same questions of us as a church, what would our answers be?
Who are we? A simple enough question but not easy to answer because we are most certainly a wide ranging group of people. Our Christian journey is as much about our mutual experience and actions as simply belief.
Why do we do it? Or perhaps in our case, why do come to church? Surely we come to worship our God and learn more about him from our scriptures, from each other’s experience and to learn how to be an effective witness in the world of today.
Where do we do it? Our answer must surely be everywhere we go? Our faith, our church, is not just for an hour on Sunday morning.
What do we do? This is really important question. Is it too simple to say that our mission is tell the world that they are loved by God, regardless of status, colour, creed, wealth or any other seemingly divisive description. We are all part of one family!
I truly believe that while of course it will always be true that to love God and our neighbour is indeed our mission – the precise way in which we do that can change and indeed must change depending of the situation in which we find ourselves and indeed the situation of our neighbour.
When do we do it? Here we can really offer a very simple answer – it must be all the time! At the football match, with the family, at work, at leisure etc.
So summarise in just a few words
- The Holy Spirit is able to inspire us using very many sources.
- God is continually asking questions of us just as we are of him.
- Asking always implies listening for answers.
- We must keep on asking questions and not be afraid of change.