Thursday, 8 December 2011

E pluribus unum

We have a mug in the kitchen cupboard decorated with the Presidential Seal of the United States; one of the many mementoes we brought home with us this summer.  The motto reads: E pluribus unum – meaning ‘out of the many one’ – an appropriate aspiration for such diverse a country as the USA.

Now I recognise this is a pretty big jump but that motto came to my mind as I reflected on last Friday evening’s Christmas Variety Show at South Street.  It was a great night full of surprise and laughter; everyone went home smiling! I judged it a success because on Sunday morning, at the door, more people spoke to me about Friday’s show than about the sermon I’d just preached!

So why link that great motto: E pluribus unum with our little variety show?  Well just this thought really: South Street can be a pretty diverse place and one of the biggest challenges we have is how a group of people so committed to such a variety of activities can find that sense of unity which needs to be the hallmark of every church.  We do it best on a Sunday morning at worship – but we also do it at playful moments like last Friday’s show.  ‘Out of the many –one’...that was surely happening as each group shared with us their ‘act’ – we laughed, not at each other, but with each other – there was an almost tangible sense of togetherness. 

One of the things that make such a gathering, be it Sunday morning or Friday evening, so precious is the coming together of various age groups.  This happens less and less in society but it is still a feature of church life and one reason we sometimes call our faith community a ‘Church Family’.  Families are cross generational, that’s their genius.  It’s the coming together of grandparents alongside toddlers, of retired uncles encouraging nephews drawing their first wage packet that makes families special.  That blending of the generations is one of the great strengths of any Church Family; and we saw it and felt it last Friday. To coin a phrase, but not a very well known one here, I think we achieved something like ‘E pluribus unum’.

This weekend, on Saturday, we have a Church Open Morning between 10am and Noon; our attempt to catch some Christmas Shoppers with a carol, mince pie and tour of the church –do join us if you can.  On Saturday afternoon The Revd Stella Hayton will be inducted at Princes Street United Reformed Church and I look forward to representing South Street at the service.  Sunday sees ADVENT 3 and the GB Nativity in the morning with Quiet Prayer and Holy Communion at 6.30pm.
With best wishes,

Ian

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