The Essex way, welcoming, resting and helping people to connect with Jesus

Do not tresspassJust to be clear that the Essex way is a footpath and it’s definitely nothing to do with any dodgy reality??? TV show. It is an 82 mile long pathway that runs across Essex and my wife and I have walked several sections of it as part of our geocaching  addiction hobby.

As we walked along the Essex way recently we came across this sign.

Warning. Do not trespass on the railway. Penalty £1000.

Past the sign, the path went across train tracks but the sign seemed to imply that people aren’t allowed in.

The Essex way is a public footpath and so anyone has access but the sign appears to be trying to put people off.

The way to know and follow Jesus is open to anyone. Do we ever imply to people that they aren’t allowed to know him?

Jesus said ‘come and follow me’ and that he is ‘the way, the truth and the life’ and so it makes me really sad that some people feel that they aren’t worthy or that they aren’t the right sort to follow Jesus.

The fact that some churches appear to look down on people is particularly ironic because the foundation of the Christian faith is grace. The Bible teaches that Jesus accepts us by his grace rather than because we are good enough to impress or to be worthy of knowing or following him.

Everyone is welcome to come to Jesus and when we follow him then our lives will never be the same again.

streamIt was a really hot day as we walked along the Essex way and we were talking about how sore our feet were (we had walked for several miles) when we came across this stream.

We took our socks and shoes of and put our feet in the water, that was surprisingly cold. We stopped and sat in the shade and after a while we felt refreshed.

Jesus said ‘Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest.’

streams restJesus wants us to stop and to connect with him and as we do so he wants to give us rest, peace and a good perspective for life.

Church should also be like this space by the stream. Our gatherings should include space for people to rest and to connect to God afresh.

If you are a Christian, what signals do you send to people who aren’t Christians yet?

  • Do you imply that any of them aren’t welcome?
  • Do you welcome people and encourage them to connect with Jesus?

We all can have access to God (you can read more about that here) so let’s make sure that we let people know that they are all welcome.

About honestaboutmyfaith

Hi, my name is Graeme and I’m married to a very patient wife. We have 4 children, 2 rabbits, a terrapin (and not a lot of peace and quiet!). I’m a Regional Minister for the Eastern Baptist Association in the UK (the views expressed in this blog are my own) and I am especially interested in making Church accessible to people who have no church background and also in how we disciple people in order to equip them to live out their faith in the 21st Century.
This entry was posted in Being honest about our faith, church, Faith, Following Jesus, grace, Life experiences and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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