This week is Compassion Sunday and Fran reflects on how the church could use this opportunity to become actors and not spectators.

By Fran Bellingham

This week Richard and I were attending the London Baptist Ministers’ Conference at High Leigh. As a conference centre it is really beautiful, and the misty sunrises over the landscape just added to the beauty. As we were exploring the grounds we saw a beautiful gate by a tree. As you can see from the picture, the gate is well maintained, artfully painted to protect against rust with attention to detail highlighting the delicate ironwork. But there is a problem.

Look carefully at the picture. The gate is padlocked. Beside it is a ‘kissing gate’. But where is the fence, where is the path, where is the gate leading to? The gate is obsolete, not serving any useful function except to look pretty. No one uses the gate.

Mission specialists point out that sometimes our churches can be a bit like this gate. We spend time keeping everything looking beautiful, preserving things in case they are needed. But while we have been busy the path and the people the church once served have moved on.

This week we welcome a speaker from Compassion UK. Our news has been dominated by the huge earthquake in Syria/Turkey, thousands have been killed, injured, left homeless and hungry. The newspapers report that following the devastating floods in Pakistan last year, many are still without food and shelter.

Compassion requires us to be where the need is, where the people are. Compassion requires us to make a way where there is no way, to open closed gates, to build new paths, to look to see what God is doing and join in. Compassion sometimes means not painting our beautiful wrought iron gates but moving them to where they are needed. Compassion sometimes means change. As we pray for the work of Compassion, we also pray that God will give us eyes to see where that compassion is needed, and the courage to open closed gates

Fran Bellingham

Fran is the Assistant Pastor at Crofton Park Baptist Church. She has a passion for sharing the Word of God and enjoys playing the guitar. Fran also enjoys baking, and long walks to burn off the calories!
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