Thursday, 9 April 2009

Filey Parish: Blogging for Lent - too comfortable?

On a dangerous seacoast where shipwrecks often occur there was once a simple little lifeboat station. It was just a hut, with one boat. The crew members were very brave, and at great risk to themselves, often put out to sea to save lives. They became famous. People who were rescued, and others of goodwill, began to help. Money was donated. Many others joined and an organisation was formed. A bigger boat was built.

Some of the new members felt that the station deserved a better building. A nice big one was built, well furnished and decorated. It became a kind of club. Photographs of lifeboats and rescue operations were hung on all the walls. As time went on it became harder to get members to go out to sea on difficult missions, so the members hired a lifeboat crew. The club became a hive of activity.

One night while a big social function was taking place a large ship was wrecked. The lifeboat crew managed to rescue many people. They brought them back to the new building. They were wet and sick, and not at all like the club members. The place was in chaos and got very dirty. At the next meeting a decision was taken to build a shower room outside where shipwrecked victims could be cleaned before coming in. Some proposed the motion that the lifesaving activities should be suspended as they were playing havoc with the other important club activities. A small group insisted that lifesaving was what it was all about. They were voted down. This group left the club and built a humble lifesaving station further down the coast where they did heroic work . . .

If you visit that seacoast today you will see a number of exclusive clubs along the shore. Shipwrecks are still frequent, but unfortunately most of the people drown.

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What areas in our lives are the 'lifeboat stations' mentioned in this story? What areas in our lives are too comfortable and too secure that we do not see where change can be a benefit or where we focus too much on the people in our 'club' than those that need our help outside?

1 comment:

  1. This story is so real and so much a reflection of what can be wrong in our churches today. I have an ongoing conflict in my mind between "social" church and "Jesus" church, and yet when I have voiced such ideas I have come into great criticism from those who say - quite rightly - that we can't - and shouldn't - judge what is going on in other people's minds as they come to church. Whilst this is true, and whilst also we do have a duty of care to those faithful souls within the (social????????) church, I keep coming back to the phrase "by their deeds shalt thou know them". The question is: "How do we become an active lifesaving church? - and, I guess, we would all wish to know the answer to that one. The words that come to mind are from a song: I'm coming back to the heart of worship, when it's all about you, it's all about you, Jesus. I'm sorry, Lord, for the things I've made it .....
    Just one final comment. As a non-Filey resident, although a regular visitor to St John's, I have really appreciated this Lent blog, and congratulate all those involved. I recognise it is an enormous commitment to keep going at this level, but would like to offer my encouragement to you all in an important outreach to the community. I pray that more and more will get hooked!

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