Those of you who were in church on New Years Eve may recall that at the beginning of the service I reported that I had found the doll representing the baby Jesus on a table all alone in the church rooms. There were no other characters from the Christmas Nativity and no other signs of Christmas symbolism. What was symbolic to me though was that this seemed a perfect picture of what usually happens following Christmas Day. So many churches over Christmas are filled with people visiting the special candlelit services, Christingles, and Crib services which is great, but a week later when Christmas is a distant memory many of those visitors are nowhere to be seen. Jesus is relegated to the back rooms for another year.
I think though that this is also a challenge to those of us who say that we are Jesus followers. We can be in church every week , but when we leave the building and return home, and go off to work, and greet our neighbours, is Jesus in the back room of our lives, or does he have that place of honour at the forefront of our lives?
Being a confessing Christian isn’t cool today, and being an evangelical one leaves a person open to even more criticism from people who believe that all evangelicals are narrow minded and bigoted.
Can I make a plea that in 2018 we engage in a greater way both socially and intellectually with the world that we live in. That we don’t hide Jesus in the box or the back rooms of our lives and we place him at the forefront of everything we think, say and do. And let’s get to grips with what we say and believe so that we are in line with Peter’s plea in his first epistle 1 Peter 3 v 15
15 But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect.
Grace and peace to you and your families for 2018
Rev Geoff Boland