On being a little bit proud

BVN Article

Monday 01 May

I know that it isn’t considered entirely polite to blow one’s own trumpet. “Bragging and boasting is never appreciated or attractive to the beholder” as my granny would frequently point out if my sister and I got cocky. But I’ve been thinking about the fabulous initiative to celebrate “The best of Braunston” and I think it’s wonderful. After all, no one lights a lamp and then hides it under a bucket (to paraphrase Jesus, who has a much better sense of humour than people give him credit for.) We should indeed celebrate and reveal what is good, abundant, healthy and brings light and life to this community. I’m really looking forward to hearing about the people, achievements, ideas, groups and places that make Braunston the community it is.

 I’m looking forward to sharing the church’s role in that community too- not just because we maintain the iconic building that gives the village some of its visual identity, but because we pray for you all every day and keep an eye on the spiritual well-being of the community. Because of the work that we do in supporting our village school and among the sick and dying and lonely. Because of the lives that are transformed in Christ’s name. Because of our Parish nurse and our initiation and financial and practical support of community initiatives like car and café. Because of the shape that the church year gives to life here for believers and non-believers alike and because we have the privilege of playing a part in celebrating the births, loves and lives of many villagers in our ministry of christenings, weddings and funerals. I’m proud that the church in Braunston plays its part, among many others, in making Braunston the community it is.

Yet in the celebration of our strengths we must not forget those among us who are vulnerable and abused. There are elderly people in this village who are neglected and cheated by family and neighbour. There are children here forced by adult sinfulness and selfishness to grow up too soon. There are those who despair so much that they do not want to live. There are those in serious poverty (not just “I can’t afford a smart-phone”.) I fear that God must rage at what happens to his most vulnerable children in the midst of our apparently successful and happy community, even as he rejoices with us at what is good.

Ruddy Church. Always spoiling things with inconvenient truths. Well perhaps. Sometimes in the past the church itself has been the problem and I’m ashamed about that. But nonetheless every community needs a watchman on the walls to point out what endangers its flourishing just as it needs a ratcatcher or a wasp-nest remover or a sewerage unblocker. None of these will ever win the “Best of Braunston” awards but in the finding and identifying and rooting out of unpleasant problems the community may truly flourish.

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