By Rev Mark Niblock
Something comes over us pastorly types this time of year and, for a few short weeks, we become almost human.
We go plain clothes, which is annoying because it makes us harder to spot. Many of us gravitate to secret bunkers on the north coast. Perhaps the most disturbing behaviour is the exposure of pasty white limbs to public view in the vain hope of getting some colour about our gaunt skeletal frames (ok, that one’s just me).
Anyway, whether pastor or civilian, we all like to be outdoors in summer. The sights, smells and sun have a great effect on us.
From time to time I find myself having conversations that go something like this: I don’t need to go to church. I feel much closer to God outdoors. Church is dull and I don’t see God in anything that goes on there. I feel much more spiritual outside, away from people!
In many ways I get it. There’s nothing like a great view or a clear sky full of stars to fill us with wonder, put us in our place and give us that tingly feeling. In church we’re just surrounded by other people. Often the view isn’t too pretty and the only stars are those we see as we slip slumber-ward during the sermon!
God certainly loves a good view. But, annoyingly, God seems to find much enjoyment in human company. Jesus spoke of the Kingdom of God, where people gather, unite for one purpose and strive for the spread of God’s reign of love, mercy, justice and peace.
The churches are supposed to be little centres of God’s Kingdom, docking-points where Kingdom-carriers meet, charge up and are sent out again to bring the love of Jesus to bear on the world around us.
So enjoy the outdoors. But, having done so, check in with your local church too. Look behind the dullness for that Kingdom spark that exists where God’s people meet, plug into it, and maybe you’ll find yourself warming to the view of those around you, who’re just there for the same thing.