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Those of us who find a place in church, have no position from which to critique anyone for whom church is not a useful formulation.

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As I have pondered the challenge church presents particularly to people who did not grow up with any communal/institutional expression of faith, I have begun to wonder what it really is that keeps so many people so firmly planted outside of church.

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While wanting absolutely to remain sensitive to people for whom church does not work, perhaps, we who find ourselves fed and nourished by this curious practice, should not allow ourselves to be totally preoccupied with those who find spiritual sustenance without the need for any formal religious practice.

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There are no easy answers to the struggle with church. But, it is vital that we in the church, listen sensitively to those who struggle with our institutional expressions and that we seek to respond openly and authentically to the challenge they present. If we refuse to heed the genuine plea being uttered, we deserve the extinction that often seems to lurk just around the next corner.

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I have been conducting an email exchange with a person who is struggling with the idea of church.

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A note inserted in our Easter Sunday pew leaflet this morning:

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Easter Sunday 21 April

19My brothers and sisters, if anyone among you wanders from the truth and is brought back by another, 20you should know that whoever brings back a sinner from wandering will save the sinner’s soul from death and will cover a multitude of sins.

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Holy Saturday 20 April

16Therefore confess your sins to one another, and pray for one another, so that you may be healed. The prayer of the righteous is powerful and effective.

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Recently, I came across an Easter Sermon I preached 13 years ago. It is not the sermon I will preach tomorrow, but it seemed worth re-reading.

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Jesus: My dear ones, in me this day you see all in life that you fear the most. I bear the suffering, injustice and brokenness of the world. I hold the great sorrow of affliction you have brought upon my gift of creation.

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You have set my feet in a spacious place ~ Psalm 31:8

Pre-April 2010 posts: http://inaspaciousplace.blogspot.com/

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