During the past year We have been becoming more and more aware that the Church of God is one entity, of which the millions of Fellowships across the world are all a part … so we, here in La Vendee, are part of the universal church. This has greatly strengthened and encouraged us.
But what face of God’s church do we seek to show to all who come to worship? When we left the parish of Grove to move to France over 16 years ago a friend, Sally, gave us the following poem she had written.We use it here with her permission. It is a thought provoking, challenging work, on which many have commented as they entered or left our home. We deliberately have it hanging at our front door.
If I should come and sit beside you
With dirty hair and filthy clothes
Unwashed and smelling of my journey,
Will you move away?
If I should turn towards you
With hopeful eyes and a weary gaze
Looking for a welcome in your face,
Will you turn away?
If I shouldventure to say ´hello’
And in that greeting reveal my vulnerability
Will you flush, embarrassed, and in your discomfort
Seek to ignore me?
Perhaps you think ‘Who are you?
How dare you come here in such a state,
Demanding my attention in such a sacred place?’
And there’s the rub.
I am your brother, I am your sister,
I am your Father, I am your mother,
I am the friend you never had
And the enemy you try to avoid.
I am the visitor who comes to you,
Unknown, yet seeking to be known.
Will you open your doors and welcome me
Risking the discomfort I may bring?
As a Fellowship we seek to be a Worshipping community, Welcoming all who come and Witnessing to all we meet … not with a forceful ‘we’ve got it, you haven’t’ attitude, but by coming alongside and just BEING there for them.
Roger often says there are FIVE gospels, of which each one of us is the first that people will ‘read’. If we bring the fragrance of Jesus into our relationships with others, then they will want to know what/Who motivates us. THen they can discover the Jesus of the written Gospels.
It is not easy ministering, as someone once put it to us, to ‘an elastic fellowship’ with people coming and going all the time. Numbers vary from 3 or 4 in the winter to over 50 in the summer. We are greatly blessed by the regular contact from so many of you throughout the year. Knowing that prayer is offered for Joie de Vie in different fellowships, in different countries, really encourages and strengthens us. We thank you all.
With our love in Him,
God bless you all,
Roger and Beri