Bring and Share (July 2017)

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I am writing this not long after the parish ‘Bring and Share’ meal we held to celebrate Trinity Sunday, which as Holy Trinity Church is particularly special to us.  While Bring and Share is a good enjoyable formula for a meal together which many parishes are very familiar with, it has been less common here in Blacon, because in previous years we have had meals (extremely capably) catered for us by members of the Social Committee.

Bring and Share is not only a good formula for provision of a meal which a number of people attend, it is also a sound principle for life in community, for church life.  Indeed, it has good biblical precedent for the way church is to be.  The description in the Bible about the earliest Church community, it says “All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need”  (Acts 2 vv44-45).  

In other words, people would bring what they had, and would share what they were able to according to their ability.  Those with more would share more than those with less.  It would not be dictated by someone else, everyone would simply bring what they could, according to their conscience.  The net effect was that nobody was left in any need, and because people shared there was a strong sense of community togetherness.  The description in Acts is showing how the church can be (perhaps the ideal church) with the Holy Spirit working in its members.  Coming together and sharing generously with one another is the key to the ideal Church community.

It is a very long way from where we are in our society today.  We live in a world where there is a big divide between rich and poor, and perhaps that divide is growing wider.  Whatever the reasons, and whatever the solutions in wider society (which is the job of our politicians), within the Church we can show how life can be very different, how the ‘haves’ can share with the ‘have nots’. 

The sharing of what we have with those who do not have is not only about food at an occasional meal.  Nor is it only about sharing our possessions.  God provides us with so much more than just money or food or clothes.  He also provides his followers with spiritual gifts.  Gifts which make us into the different personalities we all are.  Every Christian has spiritual gifts, and it says in the Bible that they work to build up the common good.  This means that the Church is at its healthiest when everyone uses their God-given gifts for the benefit of those around them.  In other words, when we share those gifts we have been given.  Whether it is the ability to listen to other people, or practical ability to help with tasks around the church building and grounds.  Whatever God has provided us with, let us all learn to give as we are able, so that the Church in this place can grow.  Bring and share is a requirement of every church member, every day, because that is also how the Father, Son and Holy Spirit relate to one another within the Godhead.

Tina Upton