A brief call… from Thomas the tank engine

Yesterday morning at our all-ages service we were thinking about how Jesus used stories really powerfully to engage with people of all ages and backgrounds, and we used the themes and imagery of the Thomas stories (originally written by a vicar for his children) to help us with our thinking… led by the fat controller after he’d been to weightwatchers we thought about what rules and regulations we need to avoid ‘chaos and confusion’ and to help us all to be ‘really useful engines’…

Earlier in the morning at our 8am service I’d been reflecting on the passage at the start of Paul’s letter to the Galatian church where he writes about his own background- he gives his biography in order to establish, to a degree, his credentials. The only problem is that he basically says ‘no one recommended me- not the apostles, not the other Christians… they just knew me as the man who was trying to destroy the churches…’ but then goes on to say (and I paraphrase brutally) that he was called by God and given the gospel by God… so we were thinking about the call that God gave to Paul, and the call that God makes to each of us… not to be apostles to south Turkey and Syria, though that’s possible and very much needed, but to be us- God calls each of us to be ourselves, in the places where we are, with the gifts and network of friends that we have…  And the fact of our faith- that some of us believe in God while others don’t, is the first evidence of our response to that call…

So the questions we are faced by are whether we recognise that we’re called (or to use the language of our all ages service, that we’re one of the Engines), and if we recognise that in principle, then what does it mean in practice… how will we be Useful?

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