Saturday, February 12, 2005

Normal Service Resumed

Having won (the moral victory) against France last weekend (only to be robbed by the linesman and referee), Scotland returned to form, losing 13-40 to Ireland this afternoon (with no-one to blame but themselves as they conceded an 8-0 lead to lose at home to the Irish by a record margin)...Like England leading up to the last World Cup, the current Ireland squad are a team playing with a sense of purpose and passion.

I spent this morning with several friends from church at a WorkTalk conference. WorkTalk is an excellent resource designed to equip people to "work well by working spiritually." Built around the seven sayings of Christ on the cross, the material addresses knowing how to handle stress; how to be good news where you - and your colleagues - are; how to have a sense of balance in your life; how to stand alone for what is right; how to be real, to be yourself; how to finish a job well; and how to be aware of God's presence all the time, while remaining fully engaged with the world.

Sadly, I think it is fair to say (that is, extensive research demonstrates it) that most churches do not equip their people for what is the most dominant and most demanding context of their lives: their workplace. Worse, while not supporting their people, many churches leave members with a vague but very persistent sense of guilt: they should be witnessing to their colleagues (usually in an artificial way), leading them to make a decision to believe in Jesus; not putting their heads down and getting on with survival...As it happens, I do believe that we should see our workplaces as our place of mission; but I would define that mission as seeking to see God's kingdom come, in all its diversity, not (merely) to see conversions.*

Of the many things that struck me this morning, I'd mention one here: that we should have a sacramental view of life (re being aware of God's presence all the time). Having a sacramental view means allowing ordinary things to take on a symbolism that points to extra-ordinary things (e.g. most Christians are familiar with the idea that bread and wine symbolise Jesus' body and blood). But everything can take on a sacramental purpose, if we see all of life as being (or, intended to be) holy, as being set apart for God's use. So as I iron my shirts I am reminded that Jesus, the Prince of Peace, s(m)ooths the worries of my heart; and as I delete junk emails I am reminded that Jesus cancels out my own unsolicited impositions on others - the comments I make, without thinking, that bring a little bit of death, as opposed to a little bit of life, to those who cross my path; my sin. This is not to trivialise what God has done, but to live out the consequences to greater and greater impact for my own life and the lives of those around me. And it is the every-day counter-balance to the special-day sacramentalism I wrote about yesterday.

*Because 1. how a person responds to the kingdom coming is their responsibility, not mine; and 2. bringing a person to the point of 'conversion' - and if we can speak of a point, as opposed to a process, I'd propose that only God can make the call of when that point has been reached/crossed over/whatever - is the Holy Spirit's responsibility, not mine. My responsibility is to seek the kingdom - to welcome God's blessings, for the benefit of those who embrace him and those who turn from him alike - and point out to others the invitation to enter-into those blessings more fully.

No comments:

Post a Comment