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When my girls visit my mum the thing they love to do most is to “make a cake with Gran”.

This is great, as they love it, and it usually means that pudding is sorted for that evening. All is not necessarily straight-forward however. Our first question after each visit as they present the cake is “which ingredients didn’t Granny have?”

We have had cakes which didn’t have the right number of eggs, or when they ran out of butter half way through, the wrong type of butter or with extra coca powder to make up for the lack of baking powder etc. 

As you can imagine, despite the same recipe being used each time, there is not a great deal of consistency to the cakes. Sometimes they are very flat and biscuit like, other times a little gooey in the middle. 

The point is this. 

Each ingredient brings something unique and important to the mix. Without any particular ingredient we are still usually assured of getting something…it just might not always be the delicious deluxe chocolate cake that it was intended. 

As we consider another vital component of discipleship life (could we call it an ‘ingredient’?) we are considering what we call the “Village”.

In future posts I want to consider what the Village is and why we call it that, but the first and most basic point is that you and I are vital ingredients of it. Without you we get something, but not the same thing that we were hoping or aiming for.

The Church, at its best is a delight. It is the means of community and company. It is full of artists and mechanics, introverts, extroverts, young, old, early birds and night owls. It is made up of problem solvers and people who feel like problems. It rushes into areas of darkness with light, and towards those who grieve with compassion. It fights for justice, fills tables with feasts, shares joys and dances, shares pain and tears. It refuses cynicism and rejects oppression. It delights in the truth and finds a million ways to express worship and thanks. It is made up of those who have faith, those who have none and those who are just plain unsure. 

That’s what it should be. And when all the ingredients are present, it has a chance of being that thing. It sometimes gets reduced to performance or bookclub. It sometimes gets side-tracked by politics or culture…but that is something else, something different to what it was ever meant to be.

Our commitment at St Marks is that we recognise the vital role that each of us play in making the village what it is, aware that we shape it and it shapes us.