March 2011

Salt & Light

The Prime Minister, David Cameron, has been talking about his Big Society for some time. Part of his idea, whether or not you buy into it in the full or not, is that local ownership and local volunteerism should be central to our society. According to Mr Cameron, individuals and community groups need to take responsibility for what happens around them and directly effects them. Putting aside the cynics view that the Big Society is window dressing for huge cut backs in funding to vital public and social services (discuss!), at base it says that we are responsible not ‘them’ – who ever they may be.

One of the areas that has always impressed me about Christ Church Rayleigh is the quantity (and quality!) of people involved in our community. We ‘volunteer’ in a big way, though with typical British understatement, it is not shouted around. After only a few minutes thought and realising I’m in danger of missing something vital, here is a list of some organisations and activities we are involved with as volunteers:- RNLI, Fair/Little Havens Hospice, School Governors, OACS (Open Adult Counselling Service) RAVS, Bar ‘n’ Bus, Romania Crestin Trust, National Trust, Warehouse Centre, Charity Trustees, St John’s, Rayleigh Churches Refugee Group, Guides, Fairtrade, visiting neighbours/doing their shopping etc, as well as various Choirs and interest groups.

The gospel reading a few Sunday’s back was part of the Sermon on the Mount. Jesus is saying that we need to be salt and light to those around us. (Matthew 5) You can argue about whether salt is an actual flavour or not, but if salt is not present all other flavours lack taste.

It seems to me that the church (ie you and me) are the vital ingredient in much of what happens in our local, national and international community. We are salt. We are light. The church (you and me) has been an essential ingredient for many years doing the kind of things that Mr Cameron has only relatively recently discovered.

Sometimes it’s a hard slog with little obvious reward. At other times we know the good we do and get recognised for it. But at the core of the many, many hours given and spent in service to the community, I believe that we do so not to be part of a government agenda but because Jesus is wanting us to be the salt and light and that makes the difference in so many aspects of life.

In all your activity and your service, know that God is pleased that we are his hands and feet in our society.

March 2011