Soon after I arrived at St Martin’s I commented that being here had similarities to being at the Greenbelt Festival, but on an ongoing basis.
Several of us have just returned from this year’s Greenbelt Festival. St Martin’s Voices gave two Great Sacred Music performances, led Night Prayer and a Come and Sing workshop, while HeartEdge organised and led a panel session with Inclusive Church on ‘Wit and wisdom from the Margins’. These contributions draw on the cultural, compassionate and congregational strands of our 4Cs, while our music-making generally is a part of our commercial offer. These contributions work well in the context of Greenbelt because the 4Cs have considerable synergy with Greenbelt’s aim of being a festival of arts, faith and activism.
Discussions in our panel session touched on the idea that the role of the Church (however defined) is to anticipate, in the here and now, the kind of radical welcome and acceptance that will be our experience in the coming kingdom of God – to have a taste of heaven now! This was also the main thrust of Sam’s Inclusive Church lecture given earlier in the summer. It remains my experience that there are moments when a sense of heaven breaking in genuinely occurs both here at St Martin’s and also at Greenbelt, and this year’s experience of St Martin’s being at Greenbelt was no exception!
Our prayer for our own ongoing community life can and should be the same – to experience more of heaven in our ordinary ongoing life and experience. Let’s make that our prayer for the Autumn, in particular, as we anticipate all the potential blessings from our Autumn Lecture Series, the HeartEdge conference, our Thinking Differently About God weekend, and much, much more.
Revd Jonathan Evens