A couple of weeks ago now, maybe even three, I posed a question at church about Sunday shopping. (I blogged about asking the question here). Recently the department store in Upminster took the decision that it would open on Sundays throughout the year. They've been taken over and this is a decision of the new owners.
My question was simply: How could this be an opportunity for us rather than a threat to us?
Understandably there is great concern about 7-day shopping as a threat to family life and a threat to rest, but the simple truth is that some families actually enjoy wandering around the shops together. They may even find it restful! And they do it on a Sunday because Sunday is just another day to them. We have, dare I say, over spiritualised Sunday. In some Christian circles we even call it the Sabbath when we should know better.
But our ability to answer such a question in innovative ways is directly connected to, and probably in proportion to, our ability to learn from the past but not to live in it. The more we are tied to an historic candy-coated view of the church and the more we contemplate wistfully a return to the old ways, the less likely we are to think imaginatively about what could be and possibly the less likely we are to notice where God is at work.