Berwick Thought for the Week: Character of faith is often best displayed in unforeseen circumstances

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Over the summer, I read a report that vandals had superglued the locks on a country church door. They had poured adhesive into the locks, preventing the congregation from entering when they arrived for Sunday worship.

On the face of it, this does seem a complete disaster, but the church turned it into a blessing. They held an impromptu service outside in the churchyard, followed by tea and cake, and posed for a photo.

The organist said afterwards: “We worshipped together with great gusto and joy. The singing was better than ever and the mini-sermon, about sticking together, went down very well.”

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The Vicar, who was celebrating his birthday that day, said: “It has been a wonderful reminder that the church is the people, not the building. It brought us together in a way we will always remember.”

Stephen Hewitt.Stephen Hewitt.
Stephen Hewitt.

The character of faith is often best displayed in unforeseen, sometimes difficult and even tragic circumstances.

When St Paul and his companions were shipwrecked in a storm, the outcome was not disaster but through faith became an extraordinary witness of miracle, healing and mission.

We live in troubling times and millions of innocent folk have found themselves confronted by extreme weather, unforeseen accident and even mindless violence.

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None of us can say how we might respond in desperate situations like these – but if we enrich our lives each day with prayer and acts of kindness, we are building those traits of faith and character that will take us through the most unforeseen tests.

And ultimately, this will prepare us to face the final challenge of death itself when our time comes.

For many people, the church often seems irrelevant to their day-to-day lives. Concern for the environment is one area where many local churches are really making a practical difference. That’s one aspect of my faith I am very happy to celebrate.