Last week I was on a residential course.
The first things we were asked to do was to draw four pictures, each indicating part of who we are. Apart from revealing that I am no Monet, I drew myself as a child of God, then a husband, then a father and then a priest. And as I sat in my room on the course and contemplated the news headlines that as a nation we have voted to leave the EU, I reflected on the passages that we had that Sunday.
Our Galatians reading was written to a Church which is strictly wanting to define who is in and who is out. While, our Gospel reading described how Jesus is rejected by a village.
Whether you voted ‘Leave’ or “Remain’, as Christians we could do a lot worst but to read and re-read again the Galatians passage. Ironically, it is a passage I have read as part of the course this week. What course do I find myself on this week? Bridge Builders – how to deal with conflict.
The essence of the course is that conflict – disagreement – is inevitable. It is not how you avoid it that matters as a Church, but how you handle it well and almost embrace it as a sign of a healthy Church. I believe looking at the breakdown of the vote in Crawley that the churches have a role to bridge build. Finally, Jesus describes how he has no place to put his head – he is a nomad or pilgrim with no home apart from as a child of God – so then too am I. I am off for a while to a new church – St Peter’s in Brighton – to learn more and experience how they are bridge building to the homeless in Brighton.
Let us love one another – and build strong bridges,