12th August 2020

There is a character in the Old Testament I admire and that’s Abraham. There he was, happily living in Haran, one of great centres of the civilised world, when God told him to leave his home, his family, give up his security and move. He started on his journey simply trusting God would show him the way and lead him to a new land, a land of promise.

Here’s a man with an adventurous faith. There must have been many times when he wondered what he was doing. How he must have wished he could see where it was all going to end. That however is not the way of faith. Those who put their faith in God launch out into the unknown, they are like foreigners in another land, learning, exploring all the time, never being allowed to settle.

In the NT the writer to the Hebrews describes Abraham as “living in tents” (Hebrews 11:9). Now the great thing about a tent is that you take it with you. You put it up where you want and when you’ve finished your time there you pack it up and move on. The Church’s way of faith is the same.

This, of course, is more easily said than done. In our confusing, frightening, changing world, it is hard to think of a church on the move. It’s more natural to want to stay put. It’s natural for us to seek stability, security, and comfort in the Church but that doesn’t mean ‘no change’. Let us not look for permanence, if by that we mean some kind of sanctuary, untouched by the world at large. We must learn from Abraham’s experience that the tent, rather than the building is the symbol of the church.

Peter Webb