Ramblings of a Curate!!
I saw an advert for an alarm company, a wife rings her husband at work and tells her husband that the neighbour was burgled. His response was 'that could have been us!'
The wife reassured the husband as she has called the alarm company for protection. Then the advert ends with the jingle.
This advert shocked me, I wonder if you have seen it and how it made you feel?
This advert reveals the very heart of the consumer community, there was a lack of empathy or any real concern for their neighbours. People who they may have known for a while. His response was me me me and no concern to how the neighbours felt or if they were ok. The wife's response was I need to protect our stuff.
There seems to be a disconnect, where the community is not important but the only person I need to look after is myself. No longer do we focus on what's best for the community but if it's not in my best interests I'm not interested. Or the fact we can live on the same street for most of our lives and still do not know the people we live next to.
Unfortunately, I see the same mentality creeping into our churches, the disconnect from one another where we do not truly know the person who we sit next to every Sunday or know what is going on in their lives. The shift from knowing and hearing the Gospel message to placing it in our hearts and truly living lives that show that we are connected, loving in a way that reveals we are disciples of Christ.
The results of this disconnection can be revealed by the way the community are more concerned with self and have become a culture consumed with individualism.
There have been many stories in scripture that have helped me and one of those is from the book of Ezra. Ezra is a priest at the time of the Exiles returning to Jerusalem, the people have already forgotten about their exile and the reason for it in the first place. They already start sinning by marrying people from other tribes.
Ezra's response to this affected me deeply and opened my eyes to how we need to respond. In chapters nine and ten, Ezra is in prayer and he breaks down into tears and tears his clothes as a response to the heart of the community he is living in. Through this act, Ezra is showing how much he cares about the future of Israel, through their sinning they were exiled from the promised land and most importantly from God. He sees their lack of connection between each other and from God as a massive concern.
Through his action, he shows the community that he cares about them and their spiritual needs. Through this revelation, the people around him also cry and tear their clothes in repentance and turn away from their sinful ways.
They cared because he cared, this led me to think how do we show that same concern? If we hear someone has been burgled is our first response to build a bigger wall to keep everyone out, or is it to provide an intentional service to show that we care.
How do we show that the spiritual welfare of our kids, our church family and the wider community matters to us? If we don't show that we care or that we are concerned why should they? How connected are we with God and His mission in His world?
St Andrew's, Kinson, Bournemouth.