A Vicar Writes- January 2014

During the last few weeks, we have once again seen scenes of flooding on our Television screens. It is awful to see the damage and the devastation that the rising water levels have caused to so many people’s homes and businesses. We like to think that we are safe in our own home, so when we see the mess and upheaval that the flooding brings, we can’t help but be affected by it.

It was only a couple of years ago that my own parents were flooded in their home in Ormskirk. I remember with real clarity the phone call I received from Dad early that morning. As he told me they were flooded, I could sense the panic, anxiety and shock in his voice. When I arrived about 15 minutes later, I couldn’t believe the scene that lay before me. There was a raging torrent of water running down either side of the house, as the field behind eventually ‘let go’ of the thousands of gallons of rainwater that had been gathering during the storms. (The only way to describe it, is to liken it to a fast flowing river).  Inside, the water had breached the kitchen and patio doors, and the level was creeping steadily higher.

Fortunately, we were able to save all the furniture and prevent the water levels rising any further and so prevented what could have been something much worse. However, we only managed to do this, as the community began to work together. Suddenly, people appeared and began to work together to divert the water with whatever implements they could. Others were up to their knees in water, trying to free up blocked drains. And one man willingly gave us about a ton of building sand that he had been delivered earlier in week for his new driveway (with which we were able to make sandbags).

Amid the devastation, the community came together. And we have heard so many similar heart warming stories during the recent floods.

We live at a time when people question whether community spirit still exists, and it is sad that it takes something like this to bring people together. However, what is important is that when it matters, there are many who are willing to work for the benefit of others. To give what they can to help. To share what they have. I heard of one lady during the recent floods, that allowed a family, who had been flooded out of their home, to live in her vacant flat free of charge!

As Christians we should be challenged by this. What would we do if that happened in our community. How would we react as individuals and as the church? One person can make a difference. I’m reminded of the story of the star fish.

A young man is walking along the ocean and sees a beach on which thousands and thousands of starfish have washed ashore. Further along he sees an old man, walking slowly and stooping often, picking up one starfish after another and tossing each one gently into the ocean.

“Why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?,” he asks.

“Because the sun is up and the tide is going out and if I don’t throw them back in they will die.”

The young man replied “But, don’t you realize there are miles and miles of beach and starfish all along it! You can’t possibly save them all. In fact, even if you work all day, your efforts won’t make any difference at all.”

The old man listened calmly and then bent down to pick up another starfish and threw it into the sea and said “It made a difference to that one.”

I wonder, how can we be distinctly Christian in our lives, in our community, and how can we bring God’s love to those we meet, so that we can make a difference?  So that through our actions, words, and example,  others will see Jesus in you and me?

The early church did this in a remarkable way. Why not read Acts 2: 42 – 47 and as you do ask yourself the question, ‘how might I/we make a difference?’  One thing to note from that reading because of their actions, because of God working in their lives and because of their witness ‘the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved’ (Verse 47). If we’re serious about being a growing church maybe we need to think seriously about our mission and our witness!

If you have access to the internet, why not listen to ‘Do they see Jesus in me’ by Joy Williams

Or follow this link http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PwiF3HE4cQ8

I look forward to seeing you in and around the parish

Ian

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