On Sunday 6th June, Anne-Marie spoke about becoming an inclusive
church. The reading was from Mark’s Gospel and showed how Jesus
amazed people by welcoming those who were often social outcasts. As
I listened I was nodding in agreement, yes this is so true. When we
think of including people, we may glibly think of wheelchair access,
signing for the deaf and the like, but really it is much more than this.
God has a way of really getting our attention as I was soon to find out!
Next day I was driving home after a swimming session (Yes! I have
been really daring) with no thoughts about Anne-Marie’s message or
anything remotely spiritual. As I switched on the engine, the radio
came on and the lovely voice of a lady Rector announced the morning
service. She said ‘Today is Sex-workers day.’ (Who knew such a thing
existed!) She went on to explain that some years ago, the female sex
workers in Paris were being targeted and abused by the police. Many
sex workers and their children were able to gather in a church with
many ladies from the church with their children. The police arrived and
were challenged to point out which ladies were the sex workers which,
of course, they could not do!
The reading was from John’s Gospel when Jesus is alone at a well and
meets a woman from Samaria. She has had five husbands and is living
with a man who is not her husband. The meeting was so shocking to
Jews because they hated the Samaritans and would have nothing to do
with them. Also the well would have been a place for a prostitute to go
to meet with clients so no way would a man speak with such a woman.
Jesus asks her for some water. So not only does he have a long conversation with her, but is willing to drink from her cup! The Rector
said, ‘Our judgements are not God’s judgements.’
The Bible says that the word of God is like a mirror and it certainly
showed me myself! I saw just how judgemental I had been in the past,
often of someone for having a different opinion when, of course I had
been right! So I have had to do a lot of repenting!
I am sure that with God’s help EVERYONE who comes into St Mary’s
will experience the love and warmth that you all showed me when I