When you look at the churches around about — certainly here in England, and much of Europe, not sure the same would be true for all of the world — it’s very often relatively easy to see something of the power they have enjoyed over the centuries. We have a magnificent legacy in the buildings that are our churches and cathedrals.
The picture above is of Ely Cathedral, our diocesan cathedral. It dominates the fenland skyline for miles around and is a truly wonderful building, both inside and out. Find out more about the cathedral by clicking this link: Ely Cathedral.
Buildings like these don’t spring up from weak Churches. No it needs power to build them. And, while the purpose of building such magnificent buildings is more about God than an overt display of power, power is, nevertheless, one image that is projected by them.
Our Churches aren’t so good at displaying their compassion however. Perhaps that’s because compassion isn’t so easy to picture in something physical. Sometimes you can’t help but wonder if it even exists when you look around at all of the arguing and disagreements between the Churches, both of the same denomination and different ones. It must give a poor image of God at times when you see some of the pettiness that causes untold misery to people everywhere.
But there is compassion in our Churches; both institutional and individual. At Godmanchester, I think, we’re very good with pastoral care. There’s a whole team of people who’s role it is to care for others in the congregation and the town: and a whole lot more people who do the same in an informal, and, too often, unrecognised way. With the other Churches in Godmanchester that is expanding all the time. We’re in exciting times; made more so because the care and compassion is about care and compassion, and not about bringing more people into Church.
And when you read Church websites and magazines, you can see the same kind of things happening all over. The compassion and care is there within our Churches, it’s just that it happens quietly, less visibly.
So, while I would want to pray that our Churches here on earth will be filled with power and compassion: I would also want to pray that they, particularly the compassion, could become more visible; so that more of those who need it can access it. It’s one sure way of sharing God’s love with those around us.
Risen, ascended Lord,
as we rejoice at your triumph,
fill your Church on earth with power and compassion,
that all who are estranged by sin
may find forgiveness and know your peace,
to the glory of God the father.
Additional Collect for The Seventh Sunday of Easter
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