Thought for the week, 7th October; Coming together

Over the last few weeks I have attended a number of events organised by our local churches that might be termed “social gatherings”. A coffee morning at Billingsley a month ago, a breakfast at the Down organised by Glazeley and Chetton churches, the harvest supper at Chelmarsh. None of these are explicitly “religious” gatherings; the nearest we came was when I said grace at the harvest supper. The coffee morning and the breakfast are to raise money for the churches; the harvest supper is simply to thank the local community for supporting the church. However, for me the most important thing that all these events do is to bring people together. It is always a pleasure to see new faces at them. For the most part, these people will not come to church and may have no formal religious faith at all. However, we welcome them as part of our community, no matter what they may or may not believe, following the insight of the Hebrew scriptures that we are connected as we are all made in God’s image. As a vicar, I believe that God is at work in these gatherings every bit as much in a church service. There are words (sometimes) attributed to the poet William Blake which speak to me about this; “I sought my soul, but my soul I could not see; I sought my God, but my God eluded me. I sought my brother, and I found all three”.