Did You Hear the One About…? 40 Days with Cartoon Church
Day 40 – Holy Saturday
From the Scriptures:
Awe came upon everyone, because many wonders and signs were being done by the apostles. 44 All who believed were together and had all things in common; 45 they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need. 46 Day by day, as they spent much time together in the temple, they broke bread at home and ate their food with glad and generous hearts, 47 praising God and having the goodwill of all the people. And day by day the Lord added to their number those who were being saved.
One of the special joys for me this Lent has been travelling together with my sisters and brothers from the twenty-two communities who have covenanted to be part of Churches Together in Felixstowe.
We began with nearly 300 people watching the movie ‘The Way’ – a tale of four people walking the Camino to Santiago – and each week of Lent nearly 200 people have met together, at five different times and venues, and have travelled ‘The Way’ together ending each session with the pilgrims greeting ‘Buen Camino’. Our journey continued on Good Friday with public worship in the centre of our town and is to be followed with an early morning service on the promenade – well we are a seaside town after all – on Easter Day.
It has been good and holy and healthy and we are already talking about what we will do together next. When we are at our best, (we are not always), Churches Together in Felixstowe mirrors the early church in Acts Chapter 2. When we believe ‘together’ and speak with one voice then none go without, all grow in faith, and others show goodwill towards the church.
This has been the perfect antidote for the machinations within my own denomination at our most recent General Synod. Our church was definitely gathered ‘together’ but I am not certain that we were ever ‘in one place’ (Acts 2.1). Come the end of four days going around the houses of negotiating/arguing/decrying/picketing the Evangelicals/Anglo-Catholics/Charismatics/Liberals something slightly more restorative than a cup of tea was indicated!
When the Church is able to be ‘together in one place’ the Holy Spirit is set free to work miracles amongst us as she reveals that we are sisters and brothers of the same family, called to welcome others to find their place as part of the one Body of Christ.
When the Church is at its worst, obsessed with the minutiae of doctrine and more eager to condemn than welcome, the world shakes its head (if not its fist) at us as we remove from them hope instead of offering them the free gift of eternal life.
A much used, but none the less valuable, saying is ‘The ground is level at the foot of the cross’. There, staring upwards at the deep love of our Beloved, we find sheltered in the shadow of the cross that none is, be we conservative or liberal, evangelical or catholic, more ‘correct’ than the other. All are equally redeemed, all are equally loved, and none are turned away. On the first Good Friday Jesus wept because of the pain the religious authorities of the day inflicted on him. Sometimes I think every Good Friday since Jesus continues to weep, but now for the pain the church of successive generations has inflicted on those whom he has redeemed with his precious blood.
Today, the in-between and ‘empty’ day of the Easter season is a good day to stop all the stuff and nonsense of our divisions and disagreements – for such if we are honest much of them are – and choose to live the resurrection together instead of separately. It will bring a smile to our Beloved’s face instead of a tear to his eye and hope to a world that needs more than a little love.
I don’t know about you but, with Dave Walker, I am now tired and ‘I think now I will stop and have some tea’. Why not join me in a cuppa?
Lord God, fill us with your Spirit:
of challenge to reject silence and prejudice,
of compassion in suffering, sorrow and pain,
of gentleness to understand the cry for help,
of togetherness to love one another.
from the Church in India
- I wasn’t joking about the cup of tea. Find a Christian (in your own denomination or another) with whom you disagree about something deemed to be ‘important’ and invite them for a cup of tea.
- Please Note: The tea will not do its work if you spend time talking about whatever it is over which you disagree.
- Take a leaf out of Princess Elsa’s book. Examine your heart and see if you hold a grudge with a fellow member of the Body of Christ over a difference in doctrine and ‘Let it Go!’
There are some reviews about the movie ‘The Way’ and the companion study guide ‘The Long Road to Heaven’ here.
All Cartoons are copyright © Dave Walker. Please visit http://www.cartoonchurch.com if you would like to laugh even more J
Prayers are from the collection ‘Praying with the World Church’ compiled by USPG.
Please support their work by visiting http://www.uspg.org.uk
Scripture quotations are copyright © New Revised Standard Version Bible: Anglicized Edition, copyright 1989, 1995, Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.
These Reflections, ‘Did You Hear the One About…’ are copyright © Andrew Dotchin 2017