At St M's, there is a designated charity each month, for whom a retiring collection is made on Sundays, and for July it has been Emmaus. As this is the first year we've supported them, we asked if they could provide a speaker to help raise their profile here, and were delighted when they agreed to send someone from their new house in Gloucester. I was a little anxious, when I heard that they were sending Fr G, that some of our lot might switch off if his English wasn't up to scratch.I worried a little more when I saw him arrive with 3 other Emmaus companions, that people might make snap judgements based on appearances.
You see, I really really wanted him to be heard.
Why was I fretting?
The congregation offered him the sort of holy attention you meet only rarely...but then it's not every week that you get to hear Jesus speaking quite so clearly, in the shape of a heavily bearded Italian ex-priest in a donkey jacket...
"It's like the gospel we've just heard,"he said "we think the problem is too huge, so we offer nothing...but if we can produce even a few loaves or a couple of fishes, then God will do something miraculous with them"
J spoke next...a painfully thin recovering alcohlic who has been with Emmaus for 15 years, and was at pains to tell us that they try to serve the needs of others beyond their own community...
"I've been helping to repair household goods we can send to the Ivory Coast...we think we don't have much but we are so well off compared to them".
L, just 21 but so much older than I hope the Darling Daughter will ever have to be, spoke last.
"I had no idea where I was going, what life was for....alcohol seemed to be the only thing that helped...but now I have friends, family, hope."
When they left after coffee, they thanked us for inviting them but I know who really blessed whom this morning. What was that about God making the peripheries centres of light??