I was talking to someone before the 9.30am service yesterday about the move to the High Road. She said "it's not about the building, it's about God's presence". I was immediately reminded of the incident in Exodus 33 when Moses was anxiously talking to God: Then Moses said to him, 'If your Presence does not go with us, do not send us up from here. How will anyone know that you are pleased with me and with your people unless you go with us? What else will distinguish me and your people from all the other people on the face of the earth?' The one characteristic we crave is not to be known for fine buildings, with or without stone arches, but as a people of God's presence. It should be the distinctive of our church community that others comment on and wonder about. This is not something that can be worked up or contrived. It is borne out of a faith community seeking the face of God above all else, and as a result knowing God speaking to them and manifesting his glory among them. Paul once said that if unbelievers see a truly prophetic church they will fall down and worship God, exclaiming, 'God is really among you!' (1 Corinthians 14:25b)
How I long to know more of God's presence in my life and in the life of St Bs. No amount of projects and programmes and buildings and strategies will deliver the one thing that really matters. This week I am going to pray Moses' prayer of longing for us at St Bs.