Messages from around the Benefice

Lyndon’s Friday reflection . Life with the Trotters
Imagine for a moment that you live in that part of London called Peckham, You are a member of a family called the Trotters and you are a market trader. You have a suitcase full of gold watches. You need to have a large crowd. “Ladies and gentlemen, I got somefing to amaze ya. I gotta case full of delux gold watches”. The crowd increases, “C’mon missus, If you go down to ‘arrods these watches would cost ya over 200 quid” The crowd moves forward “Down in Marks and Sparks they cost you a ton, in the shop down the road they cost you a pony. But I’m selling ‘em today for only a tenner”. The crowd are interested in your talk, but alas, today, there are no buyers, no matter how hard you work, how you responded to the crowd, how the crowd respond to you, you go home empty handed, there were no sales.

I am not trying to compare the Trotters with my life in ministry, but I can understand their frustration. Sometimes, I felt a bit like that in my ministry, I put everything into services, and I am NOT talking about weekly Sunday services, but services such as baptisms, school assemblies, community talks, mission and evangelism, I have a large crowd. I tell them about the Lord, welcome them to church, invite them to be part of our worship and yet more often than not, I never seem to see them again. I didn’t want these people to come to church to make up the numbers but to be valued members of the church family, to learn more about God.
I asked myself, if I was doing something wrong, was I like the market trader, who pulled in a crowd, yet couldn’t finalise a deal?
I would tell myself that I am indeed doing the Lord’s work, I am sowing His seeds. Yet, there where sometimes when I would yearn for the harvest to come in. Cynth saw things in a very different way. She said that I along with all my fellow priests and ministers were planting seeds into God’s sleepers. She likened the church to a spy movie, where secret agents are sent to different countries to become sleepers, only to awaken for action when orders from above are given.
When I show sadness at falling numbers or the lack of younger people, she tells me there are millions out there, they have been baptised, confirmed and are awaiting God’s command. They have all received a blessing from God, but were left in a dormant state, like a caterpillar, which becomes a chrysalis, waiting to become a butterfly. These sleepers, she argues are every much part of the Body of Christ, as any other member in church, they just simply don’t know it yet.
Since my retirement six years ago I have met many sleepers, who come to me, asking me questions, thanking me for ministry I have given them in times of joy or time of grief. Perhaps, it is time to ask God to wake them up. We can’t do it ourselves, only orders from above can; they need the prompting of the Holy Spirit.

After we get out of this deadly situation, the church presence will be needed more than it has been for a long time, helping those who grieve, those who are looking for answers, those who need hope. Perhaps, it’s time to pray for butterflies to start flying. These sleepers are part of us and we need them, and remember they live in every parish throughout this country. So let us pray for all those who have been baptised, confirmed or who had other connections with our church; that they are ready to come into a deeper understanding of Christ, ready to awaken, ready for action.

“Then the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain where Jesus had told them to go. When they saw him, they worshipped him; but some doubted. Then Jesus came to them and said, ‘All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptising them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. ”Matthew 28 :19
Keep safe, Keep praying, Keep the faith. God Bless.