As we continue to explore and pursue our mission to love and bless our town – ‘to seek the welfare of the city’ (Jer.29:7) – God is helping us to learn how to stand with people in the pain of a broken world. He has been teaching us to express compassion (‘suffering with’) to others, while also helping to lead people into hope and new life. This starts with prayer. Prayer is, in part, the inward groaning, or labour pains, as we long for the birth of God’s kingdom in our world, of new life in the lives of others (see Romans 8:22-27). However, mission also includes many acts of practical compassion – as we saw with the testimonies from our recent Community Day, the first of three.
The second Community Day – on 13th May – will also be a testimony to this practical compassion in action. We will learn of groups around our town that we are involved with, often with other churches. It will show how we are learning to be ‘faithfully present’ to people in the world, in our communities; and also to be present to God at work in the world, to see how God is already working in those who we might have thought of as ‘outsiders’. In so doing, we actually discover God and the signs of His new life in the most unlikely of places and people, finding that God is present in those we least expected. When we stand with and serve the ‘least of these’ we often find Jesus was hidden in them all the time (Matt.25:37-40).