We will care for ourselves and those around us
Methodists have a good and long history of what we used to call 'Social Responsibility'. That means that we have been very good at looking out for the needs of others, whether that has meant raising money for a variety of charities, or our daily practical care for those around us. Our
social concern has always led us to have an outward-looking focus and a strong
desire to support local, national and international causes. This is reflected in the church as a whole
just as it is reflected locally and as part of our daily discipleship.
However, this prompt reminds us that looking outward should not be at the cost of caring for ourselves. St Paul says in 1 Corinthians 6:19 'Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, which you have from God?' When Jesus tells us to love our neighbours as ourselves (Mark 12:31) we can sometimes jump to loving our neighbour and forget that looking after ourselves is just as important.
This means that taking, or indeed making, the time to enjoy things we like doing, to rest when we are tired and, to quote that over-used phrase, to get a good work-life balance, is a vital part of our way of life. For if we neglect these things then we are hindered in our ability to live as God intended us to live and to care for others.
It is perhaps tempting to look at this prompt and look at how we organise our pastoral care within the church. We can take the examples of Pastoral Visitors, Home Groups and Fellowship Groups and think we do an amazing job of caring for each other. We can expect church life to be a model of how we care for each other and an inspiration for what the world could be if we all lived as God intended us to live. The church at its best can be a beacon to the world in this respect.
This is why God calls us to care not only for ourselves but for those around us as well. This means caring for those who are on the fringe or outside the church family altogether. How can we expect to share the Good News of Jesus and nurture new disciples of Jesus if all, or the majority of, our contact is with people within the family of the church?
May God surround us with his love as we learn to care for ourselves and those around us.
All Saints Methodist Church
There is free parking in our car park behind the Church in Dorchester Crescent.