barbed wire and trampolines

15 09 2010

I wonder what is is that makes you smile. I wonder what it is that makes you belly laugh. Ministry in St Helier provides plenty of those opportunities, once you learn to bend and flex and go with the flow and understand that unpredictability is the new predictable and bewildered is the new normal.

Mrs Vicarage and Marigold the Lodger were sitting in the lounge last week when an 8ft trampoline came walking down the drive and plonked itself outside our front door. Along with about 8 teenagers.

“We brought you this”
“Oh. What for?”
“For the youth club.”
“We don’t have a youth club.”
“Where will we put it?”
“In your garden.”

hello, I'm your new trampoline

I came home from the running club to find 8 kids bouncing on a trampoline outside my front door. Some rapid thinking ensued (which is tricky after doing 7 steep hill repeats) and we lugged it over our fence into our back garden. You have to laugh!  These are the same kids we have had problems with broken windows, broken vents and broken trust. Every day since then they have knocked on our door and asked to have a bounce. Some quickly drawn up rules and safeguarding meant this was fine, and we have loved seeing them behave like the children they so often aren’t able to be, and I  have enjoyed being given permission to bounce like a loon and pretend I’m in Glee. Even Mrs Vicarage had a go.

This is ministry, this is being church, this is being love, by God’s grace being able to flex like a trampoline even and especially when unexpected things happen. Because Jesus calls us to be a part of people’s lives and not apart of people’s lives, so when good things happen we relax into it and thank God that we see glimpses of the kingdom.

Yesterday things unexpectedly went belly up and some were extremely rude to our Scout leaders and obnoxious to me and the neighbours. It all ended in the church door being kicked and broken and the Police called. Sometimes the unexpected is the trampoline walking down the drive, and we laugh and enjoy it and share their laughter. Sometimes the unexpected is the anger and pain and the frustration at life which seems to end in the building suffering and the Police earning their stripes. And the trampoline of our grace being flexed to the end of its elasticity.

This is ministry, this is being church, this is being love, by God’s grace being able to flex like a trampoline even and especially when unexpected things happen. Because Jesus calls us to be a part of people’s lives and not apart of people’s lives, so when bad things happen we relax into it and thank God that we see glimpses of the kingdom.

When I saw this sunflower pushing through the barbed wire of our garden fence it seemed to me like a picture of the beauty and the pain of ministry, of living and working on St Helier, and of life for so many. The beckoning smile of the sunflower and the cruel sharpness of the wire. So there we are. Barbed wire and trampolines. An unusual combination for another unusual week…

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5 responses

16 09 2010
c2drl

It is great that you are meeting people where they are and they are learning to trust you. Yes, like life itself, they have a potential to kick you in the teeth, but don’t give up this is what makes ministry.

Actually trampolining can be great cross training for running so you can feel Holy whilst improving your split times. Isn’t God great!

Keep it up – the ministry I mean and be encouraged.

16 09 2010
Edge

Have you thought about asking God for a football and some goalposts next?

17 09 2010
carol

Souls like me find the unpredictability of God’s Kingdom life very threatening, yet, to live safe boring lives just does not cut the mustard. I think the former IS the life in abundance of which Jesus is so passionate about, so keep up the good work Mr & Mrs Vicarage my prayers are regularly with you. Carol

19 09 2010
Ana Maria Achucarro

As Mrs Vicarage is such a good cook, I would be tempted to make cakes or cookies sometimes to give out to these visitors. Maybe get them to help do something helpful and then reward them. Have you got any people who have had a ministry in a similar environment and they could pray for you and give you some ideas/advice/a bolthole?
Its hard when you are going through great difficulties to see where it is leading and how it can be if use.However, knowing God( and Jesus) it will be of great use.

19 09 2010
Kevin

Thanks Ana – you’ll be pleased to know Fran’s cookies are a welcome feature in our detached youth work!

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