So I was out walking in an old lane and saw this sign...................
Now the sign was written in old English font and the spelling 'olde' is an ancient spelling. A coach house was traditionally an inn (i.e. pub) in the days long before cars - days of coaches and horses. On a long journey, the coach would stop at a coach house to get fresh horses, or you might stay overnight there or take refreshments...so you would expect an Old Coach house to be a welcoming place for weary travellers, a historically interesting, old, inn.
Well this is what the Olde Coach House was...
What a let down.
It was obviously - despite the sign - new, complete with solar panels! Nothing traditional or historical about it. It did not look like visitors would be welcome - CCTV and alarms all round, and big sparkling bars to keep people out.
It made me think.
So often I take things at face value because of how they are named, or signed.
I keep hearing that church is a family, but families do not just see each other once a week. Families have time for each other.
I am not saying there is no love at church. There is. But it is not a family. I cannot just roll up at someones house just slop on their sofa and know I am welcome. I might be welcome if it is convenient, but if they are busy - go away.
I keep bumping against boundaries. Boundaries should be to keep strangers or unwelcome guests out, not family. Don't family have permission to 'come on in'? Perhaps not to the bedrooms, but certainly to the downstairs rooms.
Our definitions and labels say one thing, but the truth is different.
It would be a foolish person to see the sign to the Olde Coach House and just wander in, taking no notice that everything about it screams 'private' and 'keep out unless you own a key'.
For my own safety and sanity I have to look beyond the labels.
My house has no label. I don't think I could live up to it if it did. I am not always friendly looking, I can be suspicious, even prickly on days. But I never turn anyone away.
Surely having time for one another is the base line.
I John 3:18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.
Forgive me if I sound bitter, forgiveness is a work in progress.