Recently, some of the local Ministers from Bishopbriggs Churches Together were meeting in our Church to plan our Easter Assembly for Bishopbriggs Academy as the school Chaplains. As we chatted over tea and coffee and shortbread, discussion centred on birthdays. One colleague told us that his birthday was 4th. July. “Get away, “said another colleague, “that’s my birthday too.” “No way!” I then intervened saying, “It’s my birthday too.” Needless to say, the Chaplains thought I was joking, but it was true. John, Paul and Ian all share the same birthday, but we are all of differing ages!
Now what are the chances of that occurring we began to wonder? How did it come to pass that three Ministers in Bishopbriggs share a birthday. Was it coincidence, or was it providence?
Whatever the reason, we have all ended up in a place we love, serving people we love because of a common calling. In his novel, ‘Crossing to Safety,’ Wallace Stegner describes a place where the main characters connect in these words, “There it was, there it is, the place where during the best time of our lives friendship had its home and happiness its headquarters.”
That phrase and those sentiments of a home for friendship and headquarters for happiness have deeply resonated with me. For that is surely what we in the church try to offer in the name of Christ. A place where all are welcome. As the hymn puts it:
Let us build a house where love can dwell
and all can safely live
a place where saints and children tell
how hearts learn to forgive;
built of hopes and dreams and visions,
rock of faith and vault of grace;
here the love of Christ shall end divisions:
All are welcome,
all are welcome,
all are welcome in this place.
In this season of Lent as we journey once more towards Jerusalem, we have an opportunity to extend a welcome to the stranger in our midst to come into the place where all are welcome and friendship has its home and happiness it