Safety Nets and Tightropes

Safety Nets and Tightropes

Is community a safety net you hope is there when you need it? There are times we really need others’ support. Being at home with 3 young children taught me this. I have never so actively sought company as I did in those years. I needed the emotional and practical help of being with others who had this, and sometimes only this, in common. Largely sleep deprived, often anxious, yet mostly hopeful, I found a group of local parents and together we learnt how to be each other’s safety net. This week, I heard that community is more like a tightrope than a safety net. Not just there for the tough times, being in community is the only way to authentically move through life. Challenging and rarely comfortable, community knocks the edges off our pride and self-centredness. It’s a tightrope walk. A recent Guardian series on ‘Live Better’ focussed on the idea, ‘Get Involved’. https://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2014/sep/25/eight-reasons- people-do- not-involved- community Seeking a way to ‘Do Something’ about climate change and resource shortages the author approached Dr David Fleming, who had invented a clever mechanism to incentivise individuals – and entire nations – to save energy. What, in his opinion, was the most important thing anybody could do to tackle these threats? “Join the local choir,” he said. At first the author found his answer annoying. Was he being cute? Not at all. The most important thing, when trying to Do Something, the late Dr Fleming explained, was to build a sense of community. Community makes bigger changes possible. At Royal Docks Church we have been leaning into community. It goes against...
Jesus: The Sweet-Potato of Life

Jesus: The Sweet-Potato of Life

Have you ever heard of the verse in the Bible where Jesus describes himself as the Bread of Life? He explains that ‘Whoever comes to me will never go hungry.’ (John 6:35) Well I have to admit, despite considering myself someone actively working on trying to ‘get to’ Jesus, I woke up this morning more than a little peckish… Must I be doing something wrong?? Well, not necessarily. Last Sunday, we celebrated Harvest Festival – thanking God for all we have and responding to the call to share His blessings with those around us who perhaps need to know more of His blessings in their lives and situations. We also sampled a wide variety of breads from different countries: from Isreali Matzah, Lebanese flatbreads, German Rye, French brioche, Indian Chipatis and more! We thought about what all of these breads had in common and realised – they all form a staple part of that national, cultural diet. Bread is something we eat lots of in this country – be it as toast in the morning, sandwiches at lunch or forming the base of you pizza at dinner – chances are, bread has featured in your diet at some point already this week and perhaps even today. It’s so commonly eaten, that even people allergic to bread have worked to perfect gluten-free recipes allowing them to join in on the comforting carby-goodness! Looking back at Jesus’ metaphor of himself, the cultural context he was speaking to would have understood that what He meant was ‘I want to be a staple part of your lifestyle.’ He’s not the ‘Glace Cherry of...