This summer has been an eventful one for the nation and, as I write, our Olympic heroes have just arrived back from the spectacular effort in Rio.
While many of us admire the achievements, all of us can also take inspiration from the determination, perseverance and preparation each and every single athlete has invested in in order to represent our country at the Olympic Games. Their approach to training is something that can be adapted to many aspects of life, not least our relationship with God.
The Christian life is sometimes spoken of in the bible as ‘running a race. ’ Paul writes in 1 Corinthians: “Do you not know that in a race the runners all compete, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win it. ·Athletes exercise self-control in all things; they do it to receive a perishable garland, but we an imperishable one.” What Paul is saying is; our relationship with God needs investing in. We need to train ourselves in faith and practise it regularly in order to grow in spiritual fitness. There are lot of lessons Christians can learn from athletes, let us try and apply some of these principles to our faith.
As we land back to earth, as a church we prepare for a busy time ahead of us. On 4th September it is the Leytonstone Car Free Day, part of the Leytonstone Big Weekender. It’s a great opportunity for St John’s to welcome and bless the large numbers of people descending on Church Lane. We will be hosting the Stonesthrow Market in our forecourt and in the churchyard a marquee will be going up to host the Waltham Forest Cultivate Festival – a local food and produce event.
Later on in the month we have our Annual Michaelmas Fair, Saturday 24th September, again a great get together and chance to have fun and enjoy welcoming the community into St John’s grounds. As with previous years we are putting on a whole range of stalls, food, hosting the Michaelmas Café, live music, model railway, a bouncy castle and other entertainment. All this is wonderful opportunity for us as a church to continue to develop our community links and build relationships.
Finally we look forward to the Alpha course launching on Wednesday 28th September. Alpha is a wonderful way to explore the Christian faith in a relaxed setting. It runs for 8 weeks in total beginning with an introductory ‘launch supper’ and then following that we will have 7 sessions exploring some of the key aspects of the Christian faith. Each evening involves a meal, a short talk and then time for discussion. If you have never done Alpha you are welcome to come along or if you know of someone interested, why not bring them along too?