Friday, July 25, 2008

Antiquated Encouragement

My family and I attend a small Church of Ireland in our small village in Tipperary. It's everything you might come to expect from a rural, Anglican, aging group of worshipers. One of the greatest things about our parish (in my humble opinion) is the possibility and potential wrapped up in our rector and friend Stephen Neill. Stephen is entrenched in the Church of Ireland like the Mafia is in Sicily. He's a fourth generation clergyman with a strong voice in the Church around the island. The counter balance is that Stephen is very empowering and willing to try new endeavours in our mission to hold Jesus loosely (as in sharing Him generously with everyone). He's read more books on alt worship / emerging church / fresh expressions, including a healthy dose of other publications from varying angles, than I may ever read.

At times when I am discouraged by what is (or isn't) happening in the Church (at home and beyond) I am occasionally encouraged by one of the stained glass windows in our church immediately behind the alter. It features Jesus coming in power on the clouds at the top and below are three scenes that speak volumes: Jesus raising Lazarus from the dead, Jesus raising Jairus' daughter amidst the snickering crowd and Jesus himself rising from the grave. They all speak of life, wholeness and health in a myriad of ways. I am always encouraged that no matter how hopeless and discouraging things may seem (or become) at times, there is ALWAYS hope with Jesus at hand.

The declaration at the top of the window from Jesus himself is often the context for my gratitude and praise of him in our church gatherings . . "Behold, I make all things new."

What is it that you need Jesus to re-create or make new for you?

1 comment:

Stephen Neill said...

Shane - Simply, thank you for your kind words and can I assure you that you are equally an encouragement and a good friend to me. :-)