I heard a great quote recently ‘Going to Church does not make you a Christian, anymore than going to McDonalds makes you a hamburger!’
This is particularly fitting as we soon move into the reflective season of Lent a time when we are invited to take stock of our lives, our faith, our footprint on the world. On the 3rd February we celebrate ‘The Presentation of Christ’ where Mary and Joseph take their son to the temple to present him to the Lord. This shows us how important ritual is, how important being faithful to one’s faith is. It is not just Mary, Joseph and Jesus who are touched on this occasion but also the older prayerful Simeon and prophet Anna who for years have prayerfully waited for a glimpse of the Messiah. And immediately they know it, they see it in this child Jesus and their hearts are filled with joy and they are at peace. That meeting with the Christ is enough for them to know that in this world and the next ‘All will be well’.
Yes going to church doesn’t make you a Christian, but meeting and receiving Christ does, and Church is a great place to do this (but don’t rule out in McDonalds either!). God can be found anywhere and everywhere, we just need to be open to the encounter.
May you encounter the joy and peace of God this month,
Revd Nikki Mann
Nikki is the Priest in Charge of the Raddesley Benefice (which consists of 6 churches) in Cambridgeshire