Friday, September 09, 2011

Feeling another's pain

Yesterday I spoke with someone who is having a bad week to say the least. Very little has gone right, and as we talked I felt the pain, wished I could have been able to do something to change things and make them better (which I can't do) and wanting so much to absorb the pain myself (but I can't do that either).

Of course as a follower of Jesus, I can pray and pray I have and pray I will.

I think that if we are not attentive we can so easily see prayer almost as a none response. Maybe even to the point of thinking, "What good will that do, things won't rally change." I think happens because our understanding of prayer, particularly answered prayer, is more focussed upon getting what we want rather than on submitting ourselves into God's hands.

Changing tack, I read an article yesterday about skipping church. It was by a minister and was his reflection on having what everyone else might consider a normal Sunday, actually a normal weekend. He used an interesting phrase when he talked about the sacrifice people in ministry make because their weekends have no options to wake up and decide to do something different. Already I can hear the cries that it's only two day a week that are so defined for ministers, everyone else works a five-day week at the least.

Sorry, but that's not the point. Many, if not most, manse families have two working adults. That accounts for all seven days every week. Anyway, this isn't a moan about time off and understanding ministry life. The point the original author was making was somewhat different and I've drifted into other areas. I love the flexibility inherent in ministry, but sometimes I wish I knew when my day ended or when my week ended. I'm never quite sure. Mind you that makes a weekend off even more special.

Talking of flexibility, I've been thinking about how I can connect with more people who are far from God. Some time ago I thought to myself that one of the problems with the way we usually do connecting with others is quite artificial. Ages ago, in a previous setting, I wondered about setting church money aside to enable church folk to take up an evening class. Not just as an evangelism strategy, please not another put-them-under-pressure-to-share-the-gospel programme. No, just a simple way of helping people make friends with people far from God. Maybe it's because I have so few friends outside of church (do I actually have any in church I find myself asking!) that I think like this, but that was my thought.

It then morphed into the idea that why not find something you really enjoy doing and then go and do it with people who are far from God. Not original to me. I got the idea from a story I heard Bill Hybel tell about buying a boat and sailing with a bunch of non-Christians. I've just got permission to run a social tennis morning in the park. I wonder what connections that might make.

Well. the day calls. Errands to run and jobs to do. I've just got a text message from my wife that read "Ecc  3 12 to 13" I assume that's a Bible reference and not a chess move. Better go and look it up in case she quizzes me on it later.

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