Amma Sue - September 2013

posted 11 Oct 2013, 10:21 by Richard Jones   [ updated 11 Oct 2013, 10:21 ]

Dear Friends,

I was interested to read recently that a market research survey revealed that over 40% of the population said that they prayed, with about 1 in 6 people claiming that they prayed at least once a day. It chimes in with some of the research conducted by other organisations and academic researchers which show that certainly in the British Isles over three-quarters of the population say that they believe in God.  Which seems to be going against the received wisdom that our society is becoming more secular.  It seems to me however that far from becoming more secular, society is becoming more spiritual. It’s just that for significant numbers of people regular organised worship is not part of their spiritual experience.  And so it would seem that increasingly there are number of “interest groups” with a stake in the sacred spaces offered by church buildings. Those who worship week by week in their local parish Church; those who come through the church door from time to time; and those who pop in to a church or cathedral when they are holiday – or indeed when something significant is happening in their lives.

Of course we don’t know how many of the visitors who are attracted to these sacred spaces would be able to really talk about what they mean when they say that they pray or that they believe in God, and I suspect that we would be rather surprised if we asked them.  What’s really important is to see the sacred spaces of our churches as a real and valuable mission and ministry that can offer the chance for folk to touch, and to be touch by, something beyond the material world – to be touched by God in fact.  What sets our churches apart from the “heritage experience” of old buildings or museums is the fact that they are living faith communities, they stand not as “dead” memorials to by-gone times or past generations, but as living and breathing communities united in the love and worship of Jesus Christ.

However, our churches and cathedrals – including our own parish churches here in the United Benefice, will only remain such living communities if we ‘regular church goers’ remain true to our prayers and worship as we gather together week by week to worship our loving God.  And our weekly worship will only remain “alive” if we through our working week take the time to touch and be touched by God, take the time to enter the sacred space of our hearts to hear the voice of our loving Heavenly Father. So let us all take time to make a “sacred space” in our lives – let us make time for God to speak to us “in accents clear and still.”

God bless you all,

Amma Sue