always looking beyond

Sometimes I think we should put children in charge of theology. Just recently, I visited my friend’s church in Oxford, when I was staying with her for the weekend. “What should I do with this massive tub of sweeties I’ve been given?” asked the person giving the children’s talk on mission. “Should I keep all the chocolates for myself?”

always looking beyond

The adults smiled and laughed comfortably as the children, as predicted, clamoured for the principle of sharing – for obvious reasons – and then excitedly got to enjoy this unexpected treat.

Suddenly, everyone felt silent as one boy, who was about six , looked around the room whilst chewing on his toffee, “But what about everyone else?” he asked.

None of the adults had thought of that.

Of course we all cooed and laughed at such a loving response (and ate the offered chocolates gladly!).

But none of us looked out of the windows and asked that profound question again.

Why is it that we always find it so hard to look beyond?

And yet it’s the inescapable call and challenge we face. As we go deeper with God, we’re caused to look wider again and again – expanding our view, and our hearts, to go beyond.

Beyond ourselves; our church walls; our preferences in worship; our differences to other denominations; our comfort; our security; our latest level of self-sacrifice; our natural communities; and our nation.

This is what it means to follow Christ – to constantly seek him – and partner with him to search out others needing to be found.

Last Sunday we visited another church – All Saints’ Ilkley. We were thrilled to be with such good friends, but also that the theme of the services was “God’s family“, as in the intercessions we prepared for two of the services, we were able to focus on the heart-cry that the Holy Spirit would help us to so grow in Jesus’ love that our hearts are enlarged to look further and further beyond ourselves.

We’ve published these prayers, and the visuals we prepared to accompany them – and hope you will find them helpful as you seek to look beyond.

You can download them from the Sanctuary’s prayer resources page.

Liz Baddaley

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