November Letter from Mat

It’s funny what you don’t see until some people point it out isn’t it? This is especially true of the bible. It’s so easy to think that you know the story and to read what you recall rather than what it actually says.

A few of St Matthew’s community went to a healing event at the Cathedral a couple of weeks ago. Bishop Bob Evens spoke on the first two chapters of Mark’s gospel. Bishop Bob (no relation to the builder) pointed out that, at the beginning of chapter 2, Mark describes Jesus as returning to his home in Capernaum. The striking thing isn’t that Jesus had a home but what happens in it in the following verses. Many people turn up to Jesus’ home to hear him speak and to receive prayer from him. A paralysed man is brought to him by his friends, they can’t get in; so the friends climb up onto Jesus’ roof, tear a hole in it and lower their paralysed friend down. And Jesus forgives him and heals him, and he walks out of the house transformed. What a mess that must of made of Jesus’ house!

The question that this brought up in me was—‘are we prepared for the community of St Matthew’s to be a messy one?’ It strikes me that one of the challenges of growth, and indeed of community, is that it’s messy. New people or ideas can upset the neatness of the community that we thought we knew. Our desire to see people transformed and healed through prayer will bring mess, and will bring up mess in our own community. None of us are perfect and so community contains mess. As St Matthew’s grows we will not be able to be involved with every aspect of its life. That may feel messy but it’s a natural consequence of growth. In Messy Church I watched one of our church members in a suit making a sandcastle in the church with a number of children. And all to God’s glory. What a great image of church!

It strikes me that mess was part of Jesus’ ministry. He often spent time with the messy-ness of life and brought the order, power and love of God to bear upon it. The mess he encountered was redeemed, transformed and brought to new life. You may find it helpful to reflect with me on this and what it means for us.


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