Thursday, 15 July 2010

Comfort Blankets

When I was fresh out of University, the first time, there was a great series on the radio ... "The Hitchhikers guide to the Galaxy", based on a book by Douglas Adams and since made into a T.V. series and a film. One of the major pieces of kit required by a Galaxy hopper says the guide is a towel. "A towel, it says, is about the most massively useful thing an interstellar hitchhiker can have ...". The towel has both practical and psychological  benefits.

All of my children had what we called comfort blankets when they were children, that is something that helped them feel secure and safe in bed alone at night with mum and dad downstairs. One was a knitted clown, another a yellow baby's knitted blanket. I suspect if I looked hard enough where each lives I would find some remnant of those comforts.

We all have things that make us feel safe and secure and often any idea of changing those things or leaving them behind provokes the most rapid and vehement of responses from us. In church life it can be a particular prayer being used each service or the types of songs and instruments, it can even be where we sit or the kind of seats we use. All in a sense provide a comfort blanket, a sense of security in a very volatile world.

Another area of church life that often provokes a "run for the hills" attitude is mission - that is reaching out in our communities, making friends, meeting needs, inviting people home for a chat or even to a church event or social. In effect church with its services, meetings and internal activities can be a comfort blanket for those who attend. Leaving that comfort behind and engaging with a generally non Christian world, evokes feelings of fear, possible danger, rejection, scorn, being laughed at. Jesus took on board all of those things for us, he asks us to risk them for others. Have you ever asked yourself or more importantly non-church folk what they see, hear, take away when they come to church services?

Fortunately the Bible gives us a few hints that we are not to stay in our comfort zones, with our comfortable ways to do things. The early disciples were people of the way, they went out to others, often breaking new ground and shattering taboo's and religious comfort blankets. Acts is a good place to start if you are thinking of putting your comfort blankets down, try following one of Paul's journeys for example his visit to Philippi . If you like hearing rather than reading try, its pretty cool and you can set it up to listen to scripture being read.

Give it a go, let go of the comfort blankets, let Christ lead you and go out and be a person of the way - reaching neighbours and friends for Christ.

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