Oh dear – I feel I’m turning into something of a ‘Victor Meldrew’ at times! One occasion was last week whilst doing the drying up in the kitchen. I was tuned in to the Radio 4 news and heard a report about the ‘test-drive’ held that day at the Olympic Park. Apparently the public had been ‘let in’ and the big story to emerge was that, on average, it took about twenty minutes to queue for each event. Much earnest discussion about this ‘dire’ situation took place on the radio until the interviewer asked the lady from the Olympic Authority for a final word and her big parting shot was: rest assured we will do all we can to ‘facilitate’ these queues. At which point, in true Meldrew fashion, I cried out ‘I don’t believe it’!
What, I wonder, does it actually mean to ‘facilitate’ a queue? Answers on a postcard....
Using language sensitively, even correctly, is a constant challenge – partly because it is always evolving. ‘Wicked’ now means ‘good’ and ‘cool’ means ‘hot’!
We have a language of faith which, I guess, is sometimes difficult to understand if you haven’t been around a church ‘culture’ most of your life. At other times we think everyone should understand what we say, only to discover what we’ve said isn't the same as what's been heard (ask any preacher!).
So here are some words that I think we need to be clear about:
Church – a community of faith rather than a ‘club’.
Congregation – that’s all my local church brothers and sisters, not just the ones I would naturally and easily call my friends.
Service – a joyful offering of my time and talents to God – not a duty to be done just because my name is on the rota this week.
Worship – a way of life lived in thankfulness to a loving Saviour – much more than just an hour a week on a Sunday morning.
Diaconate – a group of servants rather than a management committee.
Church Meeting – a time to gather and discern the mind of Christ not just a moment to ‘have my say’.
I know words are sometimes open to all sorts of definition and usage – language is never easy. We discovered that at the evening service last week as we discussed those last two characteristics of The Fruit of The Spirit: gentleness and self-control. Yet, our use of words is important because it goes a long way in defining our identity and communicating our core values.
So, in August as the Green family queues up at the Olympic Stadium for the first morning of the athletics, I look forward to being ‘facilitated’!
With best wishes,