6/3/2012 St John’s college communion service, Durham. Held in Durham Cathedral
Preacher: Calvin Samuel
Worship leader: Michael Volland
Scripture: Jn 6:35-40, 47-51 & Nehemiah 9:1-15
Calvin’s sermon drew parallels between the crises of faith experienced by the post Babylonian exile Israel as they struggled to re-establish the centrality of faith in the nation and our own nations struggle to discern the place of public faith. He argues that in the long run, in the bigger picture and the wider context, Britain is a nation that has been shaped by the Christian faith and that those values that we treasure the most are inescapably rooted in the Christian faith. It is simply too much a part of our identity to ignore. I think he has a point.
However he did go on to say that we often failure to live up to those values. The same is true of the Church. Just as the Israelites took time to confess their failure, repent and recommit themselves to God, so too we as representatives of the Church should do the same.
I spent some time thinking about the Church in the UK and its relationship to the country and wondered if we are trying to hang on to the tatters of Christendom in the UK. I wonder if there is more value in being the voice from the edge of society, living counter culturally and ministering to those who find themselves pushed out than trying to compete for airtime and validity of our faith in the public arena.
The image is my reflection on the failure of the Church that has been part of the story of decline of the Church in the 20th century.