Thursday, September 24, 2009
Church as refuge
Tracy and I took a friend to the airport last night, he had been working in various bars out here over the summer and slowly got sucked in to drinking. In fact it was pretty scary to see him deteriorate over the summer just from alcohol abuse.
Our team has really helped him, he has been able to come in and shower in our centre use the phone sort out his emails and eventually get someone to pay for his flight home. He was in such a muddle we took him to the airport helped him get his bags checked in and insured he got through security. We have prayed for him and with him a lot and last night before he left we prayed with him once again.
He doesn't want to come back, unfortunately for him San Antonio has chewed him up and spat him out. So many workers cope admirably here, occasionally you get people who have a drinking background or have under researched how hard it is to get a great job here and they struggle.
When our friend got in the car last night to go to airport, he said "at last, I feel safe" he obviously had never seen my driving, but I knew what he meant.
Isn't this what church, the community of Christ, is meant to do? Provide saftey, refuge and help for the broken, scared and vulnerable.
The old 16th century church in San Antonio, pictured above, is just around the corner from our centre. Hundreds of years ago the island of Ibiza was quite susceptible to marauding pirates. The church was built with fortifications so that when the town was attacked the towns folk would run into the church building for safety, protection and refuge from attackers. The church was built in such away that it could defend itself and keep all within it's walls safe. This protection was not just in a passive way as a place to hide but also in an aggressive way with places to fire on the attackers and hurt them back.
I like that picture of church.
I hope that we are recapturing a little of that same spirit in all we do here. I want people to come into contact with christian communities and say "at last, I feel safe"