It is a truth that should be universally acknowledged that Church is about much more than our mere presence on a Sunday or being engaged in the mere delivery of the normal round of services... and yet this truth is not, for some, a reality. The trap is set for so many of us in Church in that we become so bound up with church services and so taken up with our own voices and opinions, being so caught up with whatever Cause célèbre rings our bell, that we lose sight of the very Gospel itself.
Now these are hard and harsh words I know; words that will cause some to suck in their breath and lean upon their indignation and self-righteousness - and in doing so make what I write more true than I would ever wish it to be.
It is so terrible that we might find ourselves occupy a world where we are more taken up with numbers, sexuality, gender issues and politics than we appear to be with the Gospel. So awful that we could turn our pulpits, our eyes and our hearts from the cross of Jesus, the Christ, and preach the world and it's views as holly writ.
The trap of being so caught up with delivering services and being so bound up with emails and meetings and being approved of that we become impotent with regard to the ministry to which we are all called: That of making Christ known and through this knowledge reconciling the world to God.
As we begin our Advent journey I have come to realise that, looking in the reflection that I see of myself in the lives and activity, I need to draw a line and commit myself to preach the only thing I know for sure:
Christ, and Him crucified and risen; for Church is this first and foremost and upon this rock we build.
Not the pathetic struggles over sexuality - not the championing of talismanic approaches to ministry for calling is about being called, not recruiting the young or the BME or women or any other group we might see as good marketing. If we preach the Word and proclaim the Christ and reconcile people to God though Him everything else will surely come together. We may not always use words to do it - for our actions, our witness, and our passion often speak louder than we ever could.
But when we do use words we need to ensure that the profane, the unprofitable, and the usurping of the privilege we have through Christ is not usurped by self.