Christmas will barely be past before the Cadbury’s Creme eggs appear in the shops, and perhaps an egg is a good way to think about a new year – a new opportunity and all the possibilities that opportunity brings.
The “Irish Farmers’ Journal” had a supplement on agriculture in 2015, we think ahead in our everyday lives, so perhaps we should think more about what our hope for the future of our churches might be. The three letters of “egg” can help us think about our churches in this coming year.
“E” can make us think of expectation; what do we expect in our churches? The expectation in our diocese is for further decline. At the diocesan synod the bishop talked of how many churches there were for such a small population; expect talk to grow of church closures. Is that our expectation? Why has our church got into this attitude when the church in the Bible is full of life and growth? If we are not going to take note of the church we meet in the New Testament, then we must ask ourselves what we believe the church is about.
“G” can stand for growth. Growth begins with our own faith. The church in the Bible would never have taken off without the disciples responding in faith to Jesus and then the Holy Spirit. If our faith matters enough to come to church at Christmas, then why not Christmas and Easter? And if Christmas and Easter, why not every month? And if every month, then why not every Sunday? Like grains of barley, growth begins as something invisible, something hidden from sight, but once established it becomes something visible and something that leads to more growth. Growth starts with ourselves.
“G” can stand also for giving. Giving is about much more than what we put on the collection plate, it is about having a generous heart. God’s grace, God’s generosity to us, is shown in his sending of his Son Jesus to be born in Bethlehem and to die at Calvary, how much generosity do we show in response to that grace? How generous are we with our time? How prepared are we to make time to attend worship even when it doesn’t suit us? How generous are we with the talents God has given us? How ready are we to step in and help with things?
In 2015, we should take our church as seriously as our farm, or our work, or our household. Expectation, growth and giving: 2015 can be a good year.