I realise that this is going to be a very contentious subject as a CVM blog with fruit in the title – but it’s a manly fruit as it has thorns!
So here is a definition of the noun Gooseberry:
To be an unwanted third person who is present when two other people especially two people having a romantic relationship want to be alone.
Ever felt like that and not just when your mate brought a date and you didn’t? It’s that old feeling of not fitting in. I have to admit that there have been times in my life when I wondered when the space-ship would finally turn up and take me back to my own planet and people. I really hope that no guy who comes into contact with CVM ever feels that way.
We all have at some time or other come across those who didn’t fit in for whatever reason, in some cases we were the ones who didn’t fit in to the bloke/team player mould. Maybe their passion was for a somewhat solitary pastime, it certainly has been for me as my interest is railways (always has been, probably always will be). However, over the last few months God has given me a heart to reach those in that group, whether it be the guys with notebooks and cameras at stations, the men with model railways occupying their sheds or attics, the ones who travel many miles on trains just for the sheer experience of travelling by train, those who spend weekends working on the myriad of preserved lines up and down the country, or even those that work on the ‘big’ railway and get paid for doing what is their passion – it is what we would call a broad church.
The thing is, in all my years involved in this hobby I have never come across any organisation that takes the good news of Jesus to this group, (but I stand to be corrected on this one). I do believe though that there is an opportunity to use this hobby to reach those for Jesus and God has led me to this following verse:
1 Corinthians 9 v22: To the weak I became weak, to win the weak. I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some.
I am under no illusion that taking hold of this vision and running with it will not be an easy task, there will be opposition, upsets and every possible other thing to hamper it. There is one thing I have learnt this year whilst on my allotment, (and this is one of the rare ones that isn’t next to a railway line) as I had the best crop ever from my two gooseberry bushes. It’s this, to get to the fruit you will get cut by the thorns all the time you are picking, it’s probably one of the reasons for the decline in the popularity of this fruit. However, the rewards (that is if you like gooseberries) are immense, so if you’re interested in railways in any form (modern, preserved, model it doesn’t matter!), would you like to be part of this? If so please get in touch with me via firstname.lastname@example.org or you can find the group on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/groups/316509629530259/ and let’s go picking ‘gooseberries’ for the Kingdom!