By Dawn Savidge, Messy Church trainer and families advisor for the Diocese of Leeds
Reconciliation; it’s such a powerful word. It is something that we try to teach our children from a very early age. But how do we model it in a world that is full of so many injustices, conflict and disagreements?
Just a few of the issues that have arisen over the past couple of years have been Brexit, COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter.
The voices of hatred and discontent have risen up alongside a passion to make our world a fairer and more understanding place. It may seem that some of these issues are so far removed from where you are living.
One of the best things about Messy Church is that it is an intergenerational worship community. This might look like dozens of people meeting in a church building, it also might look like two families meeting in a home, having a meal together and looking at a scripture around activities, fun and prayer.
It gives us a chance to have honest conversations with people from different generations; to hear what affects our children and adults. Does reconciliation look generationally different and are there ways that we can help each other?
There are plenty of issues that impact rural communities; Brexit and farming are just two of them. Why not explore some of those with a Messy Church field trip? Can you relate what is happening in your community to a Bible passage?
Make sure you ask open-ended questions: What would Jesus do if he were here? How can the policy makers listen to people in communities like ours? What would you like to do to heal the community?
If you are living in an urban area which is rich in multi-cultural diversity, some of these topics will be easier to relate to. How can you engage with these issues in a rural context? Start by watching the news. I know it can sometimes be a bleak place, but it gives you a view of what is happening in the world outside of our communities.
In July 2021 we have seen a rise in the Black Lives Matter campaign in relation to the Euros and the hurt that has been caused. It is by knowing about things that are happening in the world that we can then look to our Bibles and see what God has to say about it.
Jesus crossed many cultural divides. He healed the Syrophoenician woman’s daughter (Mark 7). He told the story of the Good Samaritan and how a Jew was helped by a non-Jew (Luke 10). God gave Peter the vision for a new church that included Gentiles through the dream about what he could eat (Acts 10). He healed the Samaritan woman at the well (John 4). The Bible has a lot to say about issues that we are facing today.
The coronavirus pandemic has reshaped our communities and heightened the existing needs of people. Families are barely surviving and not thriving, with a reliance on food banks, increased unemployment and worries about having enough money. Jesus loves the poor. He turned the world upside down. Why not look at the Beatitudes with your Messy Church?
Messy Church is a great way to explore what it means to be reconciled. Listen to the world, listen to the Bible and listen to each other.