A few hours spent in Melton Mowbray today and I’m reminded once again that being a follower of Jesus really
does mean going where he walks. I must be honest and confess that too often I do the walking and expect Jesus to go with me. Yes, before you send me concerned emails asking whether I’m doubting the nature of who Jesus is I know He is always with me and He’s all knowing and always present…. But Jesus does ask us to follow Him and there’s something about venturing to unexpected and unplanned places to show and tell good news hot on His heels.
This refresher of a lesson came courtesy of the new team of community chaplains led by Helen Culy based in Melton Mowbray.
They had a well researched plan to establish the community chaplaincy by basing themselves in their local Wetherspoons (like we do in Peterborough) and also by using their local Neros coffee shop. Instead the door of opportunity they thought they had in their pub was closed and they needed to explore new places.
The one place where Helen and her team were very welcome and ‘felt’ led to go into was a cafe which is in the foyer of a an eclectic mix of shops. The cafe is called ‘Spirit of Melton Mowbray’ and the cafe owner who is into alternative spirituality has welcomed the new team so generosly.
Spending an hour over lunch in the cafe there were 3 signs of this place becoming a place and people of peace:
- The ease of friendships made and the opportunities to share faith. I gave 3 pictures I painted to different people who ‘got’ the message and meaning behind the pictures. I was introduced to the owner and we were able to talk freely about faith and the pictures I had done too.
- The ease of the team of chaplains within themselves was evident. The team of around 8 chaplains all seemed relaxed, quickly introduced themselves to those around them and some even invited a guy for a Christmas lunch at their church!
- The ease of invitataion. The owner of the cafe extended the invitation to the group of chaplains to be part of their ‘body, mind and spirit’ fair. He even gave up his own table to accommodate them! This kind of event is something that would have been the last place Helen and her team would have dared to venture and be part of. Yet, they saw this very clearly as an opportity to go and serve and love those who wouldn’t usually ‘hang out with Christians.’ So coming soon for a whole Sunday teams of Christians will do things like ‘Jesus Deck’ and offer ‘prayer for healing’ with those who come along, gently showing their faith.
Jesus calls us to learn from Him and take upon his yoke… Which is easy and light. When we follow Him, even into places we wouldn’t expect there is an ease and fruitfulness as we tip up and find that He has already gone before us and prepared people for us to reveal what He is already doing in their midst.
Afterwards I even ventured into a place I wouldn’t normally go as a vegetarian… To buy a pork pie to take home for my wife!