Visible community

“It is surely a fact of inexhaustible significance that what our Lord left behind Him was not a book, nor a creed, nor a system of thought, nor a rule of life, but a visible community. He committed the entire work of salvation to that community. It was not that a community gathered round an idea, so that the idea was primary and the community secondary. It was that a community called together by the deliberate choice of the Lord Himself, and re-created in Him, gradually sought – and is seeking – to make explicit who He is and what He has done. The actual community is primary; the understanding of what it is comes second.”
Leslie Newbiggin

Charlie Van Unplugged

Finally finished stripping out the innards of Charlie the Camper Van and here he is in delivery van guise prior to re-flooring and re-building.
The worst part was trying to get the seat belt bolts out which were insanely fused/corroded and cross-threaded to boot. I had hold of a wrench lying under the bus securing the nut whilst my neighbour tackled the bolt end in the back of the van. Every half turn was a massive effort producing a horrible noise ….and creating so much friction that smoke was visible, whilst the heat melted the carpet to the board around the bolt.
charlie unplugged.jpg
Have rubbed down the floor tonight and painted it with ‘Hamerite’* so already to start putting in the various strata layers (insultation, ply, then vinyl) with the holes in EXACTLY (eek) the right places.
All this started with what should have been a few minutes job of replacing a section of the carpet. There’s a really important metaphor in here somewhere ……… I’ll let you know if I work it out 🙂
Got to say though that ‘Charlie’ is in surprisingly solid nick given that it’s 20 year this month since he rolled off the production line in Wolfsburg.
Filed under: Nerdy but oddly pleasing!
(Must concentrate on work now)

*Other direct to rust paints are available …. actually I can’t think of any!

Harvest Service

Despite my anxiety about the talk for the Harvest ‘All Age’ Festival I think I got away with it!
I used the re-write I did of “We Plough the Fields” as a top and tail for the talk …. and this is the bit I really loved as the Orchestra backed it, the Choir gave it marvelous oomph and the congregation joined it with Gusto. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Started by asking with “What does it means for us (in an urban place) to celebrate Harvest?
I then used the Pizza stats that Chris blog-comment-linked to as a further illustration of the question about us and harvest?
We then sang the two verses and chorus I’d penned

“We buy our food from Sainsburys
From endless choice on hand
Food that is already packaged
And shaped to our demands
Its just another product
Like ‘toasters’ that they stock
We don’t wonder at the harvest
Just wander well stocked shops
All this food around us
Is endless in supply
We shop and shop
And just don’t stop
To wonder at it all
Although it just appears
From countries near and far
Via plane and train and lorries
And picked up via our cars
The miracle of harvest
Still shapes our lives today
But ‘busy’ and ‘prepackaged’
Can push it far away
All this food around us
Is endless in supply
We shop and shop
And just don’t stop
To wonder at it all”

Explored the danger of a disconnect given that most of us don’t live on the land anymore and that our reliance on the harvest (in the UK) is not as direct. But with so many people growing veg and fruit again … maybe we were re-connecting again.
Various children came up and talked about what they’d grown and we talked about how that felt, smelled and tasted. I also brought some carrots still with their vegetation atop, and a pot of soil with potatoes in.
We explored ‘Wonder’ ….. something that was so in evidence when we explored Harvest BUT was also vital for us to rediscover all the time to live from the centre of our lives in relationship with God.
We then Looked at WONDER leading to THANKS. And when we thank we think (about who we are thanking … used Thessalonians “Give thanks in all circumstances”) leading to PRAISE which in turn gives rise to GIVING (responding to all that we have been given)
(As you can imagine various people dotted around the church were then holding up the words …… predicatable I know).
Finished off talking about how we may better practice “Wonder”
All then summed up by signing the proper last verse of “We Plough” (but beware there are two versions of this verse … and the one below is essential as it covers the gratitude aptly)

“We thank thee then, O Father,
For all things bright and good,
The seed time and the harvest,
Our life, our health, our food.
Accept the gifts we offer
For all thy love imparts,
And what thou most desirest,
Our humble, thankful hearts”