I serve on the board of Trustees for a charity that works with the RN (no names no pack drills). A recent trustee board meeting was held in a Royal Naval establishment and we were accommodated in the wardroom (officers accommodation), again no names here to protect the innocent. We arrived on the Sunday for the meeting on the Monday … so scran in the wardroom on Sunday evening.
As it was a Sunday evening there were not many around for the meal. We were told there were two main choices, roast chicken or a beef curry. Hmmm beef curry thinks I. So, I opted for that. ‘Would you like roast potatoes with that Sir?’ Hmm thinks I … no rice .. interesting. ‘Oh go on then, different but OK I guess’ …… ‘ Carrots? Broccoli? ‘ er .. no …. not with beef curry.
I had forgotten how exciting food choices and selections could be, pizza with carrots had been quite common and I also remember seeing Sunday roast with baked beans. I am so glad that some things have not changed, and that for once I was unable to say ‘it wasn’t like that in my day’ .. coz this time it was the same!! (Best ‘it wasn’t like that in my day’ dit was when we were alongside in Liverpool and had the local Royal Naval Association on board … sat in the mess chatting with the old boys, and as usual they were telling us how easy it was for us, one of them was heard to say ‘The sea was rougher in our day’ …).
One thing about being in the military is that you must get along with all sorts of people who maybe you wouldn’t choose to be with (like not choosing carrots with curry), people who are not the same as you or who don’t share the same interests. The church is the same, a whole bunch of people who you normally would have little to do with. The bible talks about this where it says being a Christian and being part of the Church is a bit like the body, if one bit doesn’t work properly it can restrict its overall effectiveness. The ‘church’ needs everyone to be actively engaged if it’s to work properly …. Just like a ship needs everyone to fulfill their job description ..
When you get posted or drafted to a new unit or ship you end up with a group of people some of whom you get on well with and others who you don’t. But you have a common aim in that you have to keep the ship / unit at peak operational effectiveness. That’s exactly what happens when you become a Christian, we end up thrown together with a whole bunch of people from very different back grounds etc … with a common aim to support one another and live out our Christian faith practically in the community where we live and work. Not always easy though.
If you identify yourself as a Christian then there is a job / role / task which God has for you to do. Do you know what that is … or are you loafing and not doing your bit – and then criticising the local (or national) church for being ineffective ? I guess it’s a bit like having a go at the chefs for weird choices, but not understanding that they had no one to bring the fresh veg onboard. Maybe worth spending some time reflecting on your role or commitment, especially within the body of Christ – particularly the mens group if you have one, and if not maybe worth considering starting one in your church / local area ??? (Do drop us a line at CVM if you would like more info on any local groups or details on how to start a group).
If you are not a Christian, what has all this talk about the church to do with you? Do you think that the church and Christians are a bunch of ineffective hypocrites that need to sort themselves out, (ie they need to serve pizza with beans instead of roast parsnip). If that’s the case maybe, just maybe, that’s because there is a key person missing, a gap in the ships company preventing full operational effectiveness …. could that be you? Have a chat with someone you know is a Christian … find out what it all means, and help the church serve a nice Dhal with the beef curry instead of broccoli.
Cheers as ever
Image credit: Apex 360 via Unsplash