Carpet time: Paraclesis – Loving

This week our Paraclesis theme was “Loving”: starting from a decision to love those around us, especially those in need, even if at first we think we have nothing to offer them.

On the carpet, Natasha told us the story of Jesus feeding the 5,000. Despite being exhausted and needing a bit of peace and quiet and having apparently nothing to offer the huge crowd, He was filled with compassion for them, sent the disciples to find what little food there was and multiplied it.

Tina passed on a Tearfund story of a woman who was filled with compassion for her struggling neighbourhood in Uganda and despite having nothing of her own to give, used a tree behind her house to start a project to grow and share fruit, seeds and saplings to support the community. In turn, this gave other communities ideas about what they could share and sell from their small resources. All starting from Love.

In our Lifegroups this week, we are being prompted with practical ways of supporting others through small gestures of kindness. As we try them out, we have discussed why we often feel held back from these acts of compassion: fear of rejection or something going wrong, getting too involved or people questioning our motives. But we’ve also noted how wonderful it is to be on the receiving end of such Love and that we know there are people very nearby for whom it might make all the difference. It might seem like nothing, but even a kind enquiry to someone sitting near you at church and remembering to ask about it next time you see them, can make someone feel included and cared about. Remember it’s not about “doing good” to earn God’s favour; by His grace, we are already loved; it’s about sharing His love with others.

This Sunday we will be “Journeying”. Join us and see where we end up!