Just before Judith and I came to Epsom Methodist Church we asked you if you would be willing to invite us around for coffee, tea, supper or lunch. It was probably a bit cheeky of us, but we were glad that we had a number of kind invitations! Thank you! We were able to get to know you better and we have enjoyed that. In fact – if anyone would like to invite us to their homes even now, four years later, we would be very happy! In our turn we have always seen our house as a place of food and welcome and we hope that you have thought of it in that way.
Christian fellowship is not exactly complicated, but it does take that effort and a little bit of courage and we are grateful to you for welcoming us into your fellowship. Even something as straightforward as arranging to eat together involves such courage! It can be quite hard to invite someone around for a cup of coffee or a supper! ‘What do they eat?’ ‘Will they come or not be able to’, ‘is my house tidy enough?’ It can be even harder to say, ‘Yes!’ when invited as guest. In some ways the old adage, ‘It is better to give than receive’, is plain wrong. It can be much harder to receive graciously, try another’s food, and be in their hands for an afternoon or evening. But Fellowship matters and I wonder if this summer we could make a resolution to deepen ours? So, following on from Chris’ Focus letter for June - it is BBQ season, and time for ‘Cucumber Sandwiches’ – for gardens and relaxing – so plan to be sociable!
Invite your friends around and perhaps people who you know less well. You can invite Judith and me – we’d come! Plan a coffee morning in your home for a charity. Have a Birthday Tea! Agree to meet up for a drink or a meal. Come to our Garden Party for Neil’s (the Mayor) charities on the 14th July. ‘Phone someone you’ve not seen for a while. Write a card. Send a text message, Twitter, Facebook, email, or use an old-fashioned pigeon. It isn’t complicated, but it is challenging. As we reach out to our existing friends and church family, we can extend a little to people we know less well – or perhaps not at all.
Risk taking, generosity, effort – are not always about the big difficult things but they can be as simple as reaching out to others and letting them reach out to you. I admire the saints not because they did extraordinary things, but because when you scratch the surface you discover that they were usually very ordinary people. Paul refers to the Church as ‘the saints’, and so we are. Not yet saints in light but saints in the daily muddle and compromises of daily living. Called to a difficult path with Christ, we are not called to be alone on it, but in fellowship with others. Herein lies the secret of the Church. It is a fellowship where we are all welcomers and welcomed, all servers and served, all guests and all hosts!