Christian festivals and camps are popular for bringing people together with a common faith in Christ. It chimes with the Biblical practice of large gatherings at special times in the year to recall God’s goodness in the past and to celebrate. For many they seem like a foretaste of heaven where there will be thousands gathered around the throne of the King of kings and Lord of lords. These boosts are followed by a return to the more mundane local church.
The festivals are not the key to faith being grasped or growing. God has given the family as the place where faith is developed, both our blood relatives and our church family:
Give ear, O my people, to my teaching;
incline your ears to the words of my mouth!
2 I will open my mouth in a parable;
I will utter dark sayings from of old,
3 things that we have heard and known,
that our fathers have told us.
4 We will not hide them from their children,
but tell to the coming generation
the glorious deeds of the Lord, and his might,
and the wonders that he has done.
5 He established a testimony in Jacob
and appointed a law in Israel,
which he commanded our fathers
to teach to their children,
6 that the next generation might know them,
the children yet unborn,
and arise and tell them to their children,
7 so that they should set their hope in God
and not forget the works of God,
but keep his commandments’ (Psalm 78v1-7).
This summer provides more time for families to do just that. May I challenge those who are Christians to take time to read a chapter of your Bible each day and pray about it? How about making time to do this with your children, grandchildren or godchildren? We often feel hard-pressed for time together, but let’s make our holidays more like their original intention as holy days. We will then return refreshed spiritually, no matter how good the weather or whether we had a dream or disaster time away!
I look forward to seeing new faces in the autumn term as we do church together as the family of God so that we set our hope in God and follow His commands.