As I write its Thursday 23rd August, for a lot of people its just an ordinary Thursday…however, for those born 16 years ago its not. As I look out of the window there is a constant stream of young people making their way into school to pick up their GSCE results!

It’s fascinating to watch as different scenarios play out. All arrive with an air of nervous excitement and anticipation. Its apparent that some have arranged to meet friends that perhaps they haven’t seen since breaking up in July, after initial excited greetings they head in together to find out whether they have achieved the results needed.

Others arrive on their own, they have their heads down and they seem focussed on what needs to be done, they head straight in – no distractions. Others arrive with parents, (I don’t know who seems the more nervous!) Some go in together, others make their parents wait outside.

…Then I wait to see what happens.

As they come out similar things unfold, its so obvious to see those who have achieved (and maybe exceeded their expectations) there is much jumping and cheering and shouting, rushing about from one person to the next whilst holding this little slip of paper…

For others its not so obvious, they seem calm and confident as they walk away.

For those with parents waiting outside anxiously, again there are different responses, some run to their parents and embrace them. Others play it cool and explain their results, before their parents embarrass them with a huge hug!!! Then there is a different hug, a hug that says, ‘don’t worry’. You can see in the body language the disappointment, but the loving parent is there to reassure.

As you can probably work out…its fascinating watching this scene unfold.

One thing comes to mind. They all come in different ways but with anticipation.

And that is hopefully how we come to our Lord, you see God invites us to come to him, just as we are, with the excitements and the disappointments, we are all different and we come in different ways, however, the important thing is that we come. And my prayer is that you come in anticipation. You see when we come to God we come into the presence of a God who doesn’t stand aloof, rather a God who longs to be in relationship with us. A little like those parents waiting for their children, longing to see them. That’s how it is with God. He longs for us to come running to him. And we might come running, filled with excitement and joy, but we might also come needing a hug!! However, we come, can I urge you to come with anticipation knowing that God is there.

As we start a new ‘academic year’ and we return to normality after the summer break, can I encourage you to come to church, but as come, come with purpose and anticipation. Anticipation that you are going to encounter the living God, that God wants to talk to you and to draw near to you, that God might want to speak to you through his word. Come with an open heart to receive from him and ready to be filled by him. Come ready to be changed by that encounter. But whatever you do…

COME – Just as you are to worship!

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