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A couple of years ago my father-in-law gave me an old bicycle that he’d had for over twenty years. It had sat in his shed unused, gathering dust. I intended to take the bike and restore it. To give it a restored identity. After I’d stripped it apart and looked at what condition it was in, I got scared and realised it was a bigger task than I could handle. So, I set it aside and didn’t do anything with it for a while.

 

I met a guy recently who loves bikes and has started a business restoring them. He took my bike just last week. I know he’s going to make a great job of it. I’ve seen some of his work. He’s an expert, he knows what he’s doing.

 

Sometimes we are a bit like this with our own lives aren’t we? We think we need a bit of work done, a bit of restoration perhaps. Maybe we set out with great intentions, we make some changes and then we realise that it’s hard to change who we are and that the task is bigger than expected. Maybe we ask for help from an expert of some kind.

 

When we hear the word restore or restored we think of things that are neglected, damaged, worn, in need of some loving care and attention… a bike, furniture or a car.

 

But what about people? Can people be restored?
Or maybe we should ask, do we even need restored or fixed? Like an old bike. We might be able to make some minor alterations but, restored? A new identity? Do we need that, do we want that?

 

If you’ve been following the ongoing news stories about Harvey Weinstein you might wonder, can someone like him ever find restoration after what he’s done?

 

Last week in Cafe Church we talked about distorted identity. In our group discussion we all agreed that there is something wrong in this world and that some things are good and some things are bad. We discussed how each of us decides if something is good or bad and, we talked about how Christians believe that Jesus brings hope in the midst of our troubled world.

– from a short talk Ally delivered at Cafe Church in High Kirk, Ballymena on Sunday 22nd Oct.

In our church we have this thing called Cafe church. It doesn’t run all the time. I think it should. That’s another story though.

A small number of people meet away from the main church service. There are some aspects of church which take place but, primarily we are there to discuss God, faith, Bible etc. This is for people who have questions, are de-churched or who are exploring the idea of God and faith. It’s very informal and no questions are off-limits.

And I’m one of the people who’s there to provide answers.

Each time we do this, I realise that many of us church people are far too proud to admit our questions and doubts. Or maybe we are too scared to admit what we really think or how we really feel.

It’s a sledgehammer-to-the-face type reminder that many church people everywhere are playing a kind of game.

Part of the game is pretending we are ok when we’re not… there’s no hope in that at all.