Sabbatical felt real for the first time today due to a total lack of deadlines and responsibilities for Sunday services. Resting has given me a space to meet with God in a way I haven’t experienced for quite a long time. There is a very different dynamic when receiving the ministry of others compared to preparation and giving. God’s word is real and true in all situations, I found receiving more immediate and very refreshing.
Bearwood Chapel runs a cafe church from 6pm. Pizza, chips, garlic bread and salad with cakes and drinks are followed by a 20 minute chunk of praise songs then a one hour bible study at tables. There were around 30 folk in the chapel and the study focused on the question of the prayers of the people and Christ’s response in Matthew 9:14-34. The food and table discussion meant we got to the point of the passage much slower than we would have if it had been preached (there was only 20 minutes worth of preaching material) but I left the building feeling like I knew people and that I belonged. I am not sure how a newcomer would have felt, but as a visiting believer, it was a good way in.
Life in the vicarage has not as restful as it could be. Since getting back from London on Thursday night we’ve had a steady stream of visitors to the vicarage, mostly pastoral enquiries or crises, including a request for a marriage. We can’t do much about living next to church and being known in the community. Neighbours are always welcome to pop in, I need to resist the urge to be in pastoral mode.