I think it was Einstein who called on his deathbed for "More light" but it seems to be something the church could be doing with, as we wend our way through Advent to celebrate the coming of that Light into the world. It's only just over a month since I rejoiced at the number of "unchurched" who had come to our "Journey On" remembrance service....where one of the central parts of the evening was the lighting of candles to commemorate those loved but seen no longer.
This weekend they were back...not the bereaved, this time, but around 200 children and their parents, some part of our church groups, Brownies, Guides etc but a huge majority those with whom we have no regular contact at all. What drew them out on a winter evening? Not, surely, the knowledge that they would go home with a free orange and a handful of jelly tots....Ive no idea what was going on inside them as we stood there in the candlelight of our Christingle service but at least they were being given an invitation and an opportunity to engage for a few moments with the God-story that lies at the heart of history.
There was lots of good will as we said "Good night" at the door, and more than the usual crop of children greeted me as our paths crossed en route to school next day, but my fear is that we are wasting these windows of opportunity. Our church desperately needs those young families....but the families need God so very much more. It's good that there is a penitential flavour to our liturgy now, as it seems to me that we are failing on too many fronts,- and it is not just a question of the survival beyond the next 30 years of the ancient church at the heart of the village.
I'm told they will be back for more candles on Christmas Eve: that's great, but how do we bring them more Light?