27/03/12 | Posted by HughB
This Sunday thousands of people ran one, three or six miles to raise money for Sports Relief, many of them wearing fancy dress or carrying some sort of burden. I noticed two guys strapped to each other back to back, playing guitars. They were entertaining but their progress was painfully slow.
On that same day, the BBC reported that nearly half the cathedrals in the UK that responded to their questionnaire were worried that soon they would not be able to meet their running costs. Apparently the Church of England is responsible for the upkeep of 45% of Grade One listed buildings. They gave an example of Southwell Minster in Nottinghamshire whose income is about £1.46 million but spends nearly 90% on running costs, leaving just £150,000 for community projects.
While I can appreciate the beauty of such buildings, I do wonder if the plot has been lost somewhere. Jesus made a big thing of feeding the hungry, caring for the poor, visiting the sick, etc. But he didn’t seem to be too worried about buildings or appearances.
Being dressed up funny for sports relief may slow a runner down but that doesn’t really matter. In fact, it may bring in more money for charity. Having huge beautiful but costly buildings may be attractive (many cathedrals are getting more visitors) but are they slowing down the mission Jesus gave his disciples?
Something else Jesus regular told his disciples was that to follow him they had to carry their cross daily. Of course he was talking about sacrifice but I wonder if there was something else behind his challenge.
Carrying a cross requires two hands. You can’t carry it and hope to carry anything else. And as you carry it on your back there isn’t even any room for a backpack. Instead you have to drop everything at his feet so that you are free to carry it. Leave the carrying of all those other things to him.
Perhaps Jesus was calling his disciples to travel with him lightly. Perhaps the Church of England needs to let go of these large money-eating buildings. Perhaps you and I need to leave a few things at his feet.
Certainly the less you carry with you the easier it is to move on
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