Today’s Jottings continues a series looking towards Homelessness Sunday on January 28th. The week after, on February 4th, we celebrate Candlemas when Simoen held the babyJesus before God in the Temple.
In this series I am to reflecting on ways that we as a church can take the opportunity to see Christ in others, reaching out to us in their need, and inviting us to minister to the Christ within them when we respond.
Last week I reflected on ways we can welcome parents who bring children to church; today I want to reflect on the housebound who rely on others to get them to church.
I have deliberately chosen as our Jottings picture a car just like Buttercup who used to belong to Vicki Osborne and Phil Harnett. Vicki and Phil have left London for Torquay, but previously, each Sunday, they helped one of our congregation get to church each Sunday by giving her a lift.
I, and another member of the congregation, have continued to support this person in this way, albeit getting them to church less regularly than Phil and Vicki did. However it does mean she can be with us twice a month. And there is another longstanding congregant who regularly gets to church because a couple offer a lift.
The fact these two older members of our church family can be brought to church is not only good for the people concerned, to help them continue to feel part of the community of faith which is their church, but it is good for us too.
St Paul, in his letter to the Corinthians, uses the analogy of the body to help explain what he mean by the concept of the Body of Christ,
“Indeed, the body does not consist of one member but of many. If the foot were to say, ‘Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. And if the ear were to say, ‘Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body’, that would not make it any less a part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the hearing be? If the whole body were hearing, where would the sense of smell be? But as it is, God arranged the members in the body, each one of them, as he chose” (1 Cor 12:14-18).
When volunteers come forward to offer lifts for people who struggle to get to church, it is the whole community that is being served and not just the person who is receiving the transport. The body is more complete when all its members are present.
It would be really good to get a small group of drivers together who can form a ‘lift-bank’ which can be available to be drawn upon when help is needed. Not only does this share the load a bit in terms of commitments (present arrangements are reliant on just two or three people), but it is likely that this sort of help is going to be needed more into the future if we are intent on helping our older brothers and sisters get to church in their infirmity. This really is an instance where the helping of one person is a gift to the whole family of faith.
Please do speak to one of the Ministry Team if you think you would like to join a ‘lift -bank’.
With the assurance of my prayers