Wanted to commenton a 'Lay Witness' weekend that I experienced for the first time. Katrina and Cheryl had organised for 13 people to come to Newtownabbey Methodist and minister to the congregation there. Now me being a Baptist and all....
Seriously tho it was really interesting as an outsider to come in an witness, experience and observe people open up to one another. Interesting as well, cos most of the people who shared were feeling tired and weary.
What struck me was this expression of Church. On Sunday night there was a celebration service for the weekend. There wasn't a dry eye in the house! But it was amazing. Honesty, silence, love, compassion, thanksgiving, release, hurt, pain, healing, praise, encouragement, victory and freedom.
Why do we have order and ritual and formality? Why do we have an order of service? Why is there an agenda? And do people find freedom when we continually do this every Sunday? Is comfort good? Is tradition strangling us?
We need to wait on God. We should stop and be still. We should, but we don't. We could but we can't...
I love hearing testimonies. I love the fact that people get up and say, "Oh I'm not a speaker" or "I'm no good at this" and they are brilliant and normally far better than the ordained! Why cos they are honest, they are raw, they have passion and they have something real. I don' think you could have this format every week as it would be far too emotional and draining but maybe thats what the Church needs - a bit of emotion. Something that when you go into work on Monday morning, you look as rough as those people with hangovers but you have a lightness in your spirit and you can share with your workmates that Jesus is alive, that God is faithful and that you had an amazing weekend which you can remember!
So I pray for the Church in Newtownabbey as I feel this weekend coming is so important. I pray for those in leadership for wisdom. I pray that they rest, that they are revived and refreshed.
Some verses that came to me was from Luke 10 v38-42
As Jesus and his disciples were on their way, he came to a village where a woman named Martha opened her home to him. She had a sister called Mary, who sat at the Lord's feet listening to what he said. But Martha was distracted by all the preparations that had to be made. She came to him and asked, "Lord, don't you care that my sister has left me to do the work by myself? Tell her to help me!"
"Martha, Martha," the Lord answered, "you are worried and upset about many things, but only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better, and it will not be taken away from her."