Recently, I've had cause to think a lot about church. This is for the best of reasons - I'm really enjoying church right now. Moving to a new city and starting a new job has its hardships and a consistent high point of my week is attending Christ Church Bradford.
There are many reasons for this: the warmth, love and hospitality of other Christians, the solid preaching and teaching from the Bible, the richness of the prayers, the enthusiastic, if sometimes off kilter, singing (not that I can talk!). Mainly though, it is because I go to church and come away refreshed, feeling that Christ has ministered to my soul, that God was, in a very real way, present at the service. In a time and an age where the church gets a lot of bad press I think it necessary to stand up and say that church is often beautiful.
Naturally, I immediately worry that it cannot last. And in this last week two separate thoughts have joined together on this worry. The first occured mid-week at home group where we looked at the parable of the mustard seed.
"Again he said, ‘What shall we say the kingdom of God is like, or what parable shall we use to describe it? It is like a mustard seed, which is the smallest of all seeds on earth. Yet when planted, it grows and becomes the largest of all garden plants, with such big branches that the birds can perch in its shade.’" Mark 4 v 30 v 32.