Today the General Assembly opened with its usual flush of pomp and ceremony. And my first thought as I watched some of the amazing costumes and hats was whether any of them wanted to be there? Perhaps I do them a great injustice to think that the passing of letters and speeches were just tradition but it seemed somewhat ironic to make Alec Salmond sit though the royal material. Of course his face gave nothing away. As the day progressed though I was struck by the careful answers of Convenors to questions that tried to dig below the surface. Are we as transparent an organisation as we like to think?
Later I was blessed to have an honest conversation with a supervisor but wished I had said that I am more guarded with others if they were to ask me the same question. We share information readily with some and not with others. Not that we are telling fibs but that we choose our answers based on place, time and people.
Is allowing other religions to worship in our buildings a form of deception where we are unfaithful to God? This question was posed on the floor of the GA and if I am honest I agreed with the sentiment of it. You can’t take the evangelist out of me that easily. However as the debate progressed I was challenged to look deeper. How big is my God? How confident am I in him? Therefore I had to leave it to the minister’s prerogative because God works in mysterious ways.
Should the vision statement include the words to love as Jesus loves? Do we need to be explicit on that? Shouldn’t we do that anyway? Are we being transparent if we add the words to all our public documents? I suspect we would be deceiving ourselves if we thought all it took was to put it in words.
The last comment I want to make in a day filled with fascinating thoughts, challenges and mind boggling minutae belongs to Helen who spoke so passionately about the church in china. I admit to not hearing all of the World mission report as was deep in conversation elsewhere over coffee. But if listen again was possible for the General Assembly I’d send you to it right now. Her closing phrase and forgive if it haven’t got it 100% right was this
If you want to walk fast, walk alone. If you want to walk far, walk together. Love never ends.
I pray that the General Assembly walks together with each other in her myriad forms and the congregations under her care. But more importantly I hope she walks together with our God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, sharing Jesus’ love.