We begin the Alpha Course this coming week and the first session will pose the question – ‘Is there more to life than this?
This question has been asked and dissected throughout the history of the human race. The Bible can be seen as the story of groups of people – Israel in the Old Testament and Christians in the New Testament – wrestling with this very issue. Those who reject God in the reading from the Wisdom of Solomon have concluded that there is no remedy when life comes to end. When you die that is it. However, even these opponents to God cannot help be engaged and intrigued by people who have faith.
Sometimes churches haven’t been a safe space to ask the big questions of life – my hope is that Tuesday evening at St Barnabas’ Church, in the sharing of a meal and the asking of questions, that Alpha will be such a safe space. My other hope for Alpha is that it will also demonstrate another aspect of Christian love, the aspect of hospitality.
In the Gospel reading, the greatest will be those with a servant heart who will welcome everyone even the lowest of the low – in the society of Jesus this was children – today it might be the homeless person or migrant. True hospitality is welcoming everyone in abundant love no matter what baggage they have. At Alpha, we will all be bringing baggage, but we will all be welcome, just as we are when we gather together, this Sunday, at the Communion rail. All with our own baggage, but all equally welcomed to share in the Lord’s Supper. And as Sian and Greta (this week) begin their ministries as Lay Ministers of Communion, may they feel this welcome always.