christingleThis Sunday i will be doing what many of my neighbours do, at least those without small people in the family. l be waking up slowly and enjoying a short lie in before having a leisurely breakfast and a read of the news. I’ll then help my wife with a few chores and prepare for a late lunch together with a few local friends from The Well. We’ll enjoy our meal together as an extended family and then pray briefly for the late afternoon gathering of people in our local park.
Each year a large number of locals gather for a ‘Christingle’ celebration around our park bandstand.
Christingle means ‘Christ Light’ and is a symbolic advent object used in many denominations to celebrate Jesus Christ as the “Light of the world”. Usually this is an orange – representing the world – with a candle and four cocktail sticks with sweet on them representing the four gospels and the gifts of the Magi. Most of those present won’t be churchgoers, nor even have a faith to speak of, but they will likely have children, together with a longing to connect in a local community, and to express in song something of the collective memory of Christmas’s gone by with the hope and warmth that they evoke.
Our little band of HOUSE community will be part of that crowd. We each have friends and neighbours in that crowd, people we like and care for, and who like us. People of various cultures, creeds and circumstances. Some are going through personal crises. One or two are dealing with serious illnesses. Others are celebrating success or achievement. Each has a story that we value and are trying to stay engaged with. Along with singing a few carols and huddling to keep warm we will laugh with their children and listen to their journey as we struggle to keep our candle alight against the wind.
I love it.
This is church.
This is a missional community within a local community, enjoying people where they are at, engaging in the activities that they are engaged in and occasionally hosting something of our own.
We often introduce ourselves at The Well as a ‘network of missional communities’ or a ‘family of families on mission’.
Structures should always serve life, so we’ve shaped our schedule as a church around our passion for missional engagement. This is the reason we have an ‘All Out Sunday’ at least once a month (2nd Sundays), with some groups meeting ‘out’ twice a month.
One reason for this rhythm is that there is a lazy addiction many believers seem to develop around being in a building with lots of other Christians. Of course being together in large numbers is great and has its place, and our passion for strong prayer, for great worship and for clear teaching is growing even as we are going, however, we don’t become fully rounded disciples by hiding away from our communities on the premium leisure days that they enjoy. Our passion for genuine missional engagement is at the heart of The Well.
If you joined The Well, then it’s likely that this passion is what drew you to us in the first place. So as you think about our All Out Sundays, or any other Sundays, or any day or any neighbourhood or network, let me encourage you to allow this passion to take hold of you again and to continue to conspire with others of like mind and heart at The Well in being a family on mission that models something of Christ’s love to your chosen/appointed mission field. Let me know if you have a passion and are looking for a co-conspirator. It may just be that I can hook you up.
Go Well.
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