Last November, I walked down my garden and the weeping pussy willow tree caught my eye. Since the leaves fell, it had been a mass of dull brown twigs and – if you knew where to look – small dark buds. But that morning, some of the buds had – overnight! – turned a brilliant butter yellow colour. And I knew that, if nothing else, the tree was still alive (though dormant) and the processes that would make it ready for spring and its next season were all quietly happening. It was a small thing, and while it didn’t say that spring had arrived, it did say that, if all goes well, there will be new leaves – and those amazing flowers – in March and April.
A few weeks ago, as I walked down my road, one of my unknown neighbours (unknown to me, that is) waved and said good morning. We chatted about the weather for a bit and then I went on down the road. It was a small thing, and it made me glad. It was good to be recognized as a neighbour, belonging to this community.
Last week, as I came out of Tesco’s, I managed to drop my shopping bag and all my purchases. A total stranger appeared instantly at my side, picked up the shopping, made sure that I was alright and said, with a smile, that it was ‘his pleasure’. That too was a small thing, but it showed me that there is still kindness to be received from strangers.
A long time ago (roughly two millennia), a man died. The dying was long and painful, but, on the world stage, it went unnoticed. It was a small thing, just one death among so many millions of deaths. But that death enables every human being to meet with God; and that meeting can change the hearts and the lives of us all.
I am a member of the Vine Community Church. We are a small group – maybe 60 people – and very ordinary. And we are a community who have all been changed by God. There are several churches in Littleport and they are all much the same as the Vine Church, in that they are all small, ordinary – and changed. And each one of them is a sign – a living and permanent demonstration that God is still alive and active – here in Littleport and right across the world.
So come and have a look at us; not just at the Vine but any of the churches. Come for the pleasure of the singing, of conversations with people who are interested in you, of tea and homemade cakes (that’s on Thursday at the Vine). Come and find out if prayer actually changes anything. Come and see what it is like to love God and to live your life in His way.
Come because you are a bit curious. Come because you are in trouble and can’t get out of it on your own. Come because you enjoyed Sunday School when you were a child and feel that Christmas just isn’t complete without the opportunity to sing a lot of carols. Come because you are lonely without God and you need Him.