Have you ever had a vision? Some people say they have seen them. (Julian of Norwich and Winston Churchill both claimed to have done.)
These days nearly every company, charity, school or organisation has a “vision statement”. It sounds very noble and grand until you compare what is in the vision with the goods promised. For example a well known soft drink company promises it is in the business to “ … refresh the world in mind, body and spirit. To inspire moments of optimism and happiness.” I think it ought to say “inspiring obesity and tooth decay”, but perhaps I’m a cynic.
The secular world seems to have latched on to this rather Biblical idea and turned it into a marketing ploy. However, scriptural visions are rather different from soft drinks, cars, or IT companies. When Jesus took Peter, John and James up a mountain and became “transfigured”, they were so terrified at the sight of him glowing dazzling white and flanked by Moses and Elijah that Peter started jabbering about building shelters for them all. A far cry from the ignominy and shame of the stripped, beaten and bleeding Christ on the cross which was to follow shortly afterwards. The vision was, of course, a glimpse of the resurrection, but the disciples didn’t understand at the time.
I don’t suppose anything like the transfiguration will happen to us. But we do need a vision for St Peter’s. When our church building is returned to us, bright and freshly painted, lovely and warm, with a new beautiful wide west door, a sound system to amplify instead of distort, our pillars grounded on firm concrete instead of crumbling rubble, the roof watertight and access made easier for all, what will we be like?
Our vision is not just to have a lovely building (but that is part of it). Our new wide door needs to be big enough for all, the bright fresh lighting and decoration needs to say “Welcome!” Our whole church needs to be grounded on a firm rock of faith. (Jesus told St Peter “on this rock I will build my church.”). It will be comfortable to sit and easier to move about and hear. But the main vision for our church is that we should be transfigured (changed). I don’t think any of us will glow dazzling white. But we will have changed after six months of meeting in the school. Perhaps we are getting to know each other better? I have noticed a different atmosphere at Holy Communion. It has been easier to sing when we sit closer together. We have managed to worship with fewer “things” like robes, the organ, some candles, pews, kneelers and china mugs.
Our vision statement goes like this: “St Peter’s Church stands at the heart of Wrecclesham, offering in Christ’s name a warm welcome, faithful witness and loving service”. In Lent as we examine ourselves and repent, we also need to become the changed Easter people who radiate the love of Jesus.
With love and prayers
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