When I woke this morning, my first thoughts were how marvellous it is that so many retired Christians have come to live in Filey to be involved in God's Work. My wife and I left Filey when we were in our twenties to seek a living, on our return it has been a delightful suprise to find so many retired people helping with the faithful witness of local people. I was vaguely aware that our Parish Church is the most loving and caring church I have ever had the privilege of belonging to, but had never thought why.
As I laid there thinking and praying I thought of the different parts of our Body. Our retired Clergy represent every branch of the Christian Faith, from Evangelical and Eucharistic to Mystic and Celtic Spirituality. We have retired Teachers, Nurses, Policemen, Missionaries, businessmen, skillls in architecture, finance, gardening, storekeeping and many other things, some Filey born and bred, but many who have come to retire here. With their huge life experience, many of those in our church have suffered bereavement, and other major difficulties and have a huge natural empathy for those in similar situations.
Our beautiful Town of Filey has many problems and as said before is the third most deprived small coastal town in the country. Wages are poor and employment seasonal, we have significant problems with alcoholism, drugs, chronic illness and other issues. In common with the rest of the country our society is largely post Christian. I have faith that our many talents as a Church are going to be released soon to serve these needs. Soon we will have a beautiful new Church at St Johns and we should not understimate the potential appeal of our beautiful 12th Century Church at St Oswalds, not forgetting of course St Thomas's a small but massively significant presence in a small rural community.
But of course it's not about buildings, it's about the Church, the Body of Christ. Yesterday I read these words in Luke 4:
18 “The Spirit of the Lord is on me,
because he has anointed me
to proclaim good news to the poor.
He has sent me to proclaim freedom for the prisoners
and recovery of sight for the blind,
to set the oppressed free,
19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.” (NIV)
This is a radical stuff. Our resurrected Lord Jesus Christ is declaring a state of eternal 'Jubilee' where wealth is redistributed and all become equal before the Lord. I believe many in our town are opressed by their lives, lonely, bereaved, frightened, paranoid, always struggling with low wages, constantly in debt. We have a mission to declare the Lord Jesus Christ as an answer to their problems. He's already set us free from bondage. Let's pass the message on, its a message of Love.