Where did you go on holiday?
I don’t mean beach or beautiful scenery, history or horrific journey – but whether you took the opportunity of visiting a Church or other community of God’s people while you were away from home.
It might even have been a group of God’s people who are linked to Rural Ministries. I can remember a number of visits to different parts of the country long before I had any involvement with Rural Ministries – which with the benefit of hindsight involved visiting Churches and meeting with Christians who were part of the RM family.
We have found others of God’s people in different places around the world. As I write this I am wondering who we will meet while we are away ourselves seeing our son and his family.
If you did have that opportunity, I wonder what you left behind and what your brought back with you.
Sometimes what we leave behind is like our footsteps on the beach – a fleeting impression which gets quickly washed away by the next tide.
But at other times:
"… when you came …you brought
A sense of Him.
And from your eyes He beckons me,
And from your heart His love is shed,
Till I lose sight of you and see
The Christ instead."
(quoted by Isobel Kuhn)
And when we return do we bring back grains of sand that can become (just as inside an oyster) the core of an ever growing and increasingly precious pearl in your own life or (and) in the life of your own Church.
I have been encouraged with new songs, either that we have heard or others have heard and brought back to be used at home. At other times it has not been something new but areminders of precious things that had almost been forgotten. Yet again there have been the chances to meet fellow children of God and hear how God has been at work in their lives and through their lives to His glory.
There are some who go away with a very definite purpose – perhaps a Beach Mission or to spend time working with overseas students. Others are, quite rightly, looking for a well deserved rest and to enjoy the beauty to be found in God’s world. But God’s promise is that in all things He works for the good of those who love Him and are called according to His purpose – including our times away.
Chris Hughes is vice-chair of Rural Ministries Board of Trustees. He is also former Minister at Rural Ministries Partner Church at Bishopstoke and attends Above Bar Church in Southampton.