Today the Scottish Episcopal Church counts, counts the people who come along to its services.
Christ the King, the last Sunday in the Christian year before Advent begins once again next Sunday, it is a day for rejoicing, for celebration. A day when we can look and see, that despite how it may seem at times, God is control. Don’t forget the counting Kirstin, for it is also the day of counting, and the day of counting is very important for some. Indeed it is from today’s day of counting statements will be made, opinions formed and assumptions pontificated about the SEC’s future, present and even past when those figures, collected today, are released. But …
Christ’s reign while sometimes hidden behind the horrors of the world has begun. Now sometimes those ways can seem very small indeed, minuscule even, and those little ways don’t appear in statistics, they aren’t counted, but they are the often the most important bits of all. For they are often the glimpses of God’s Kingdom breaking through.
Today the numbers I am interested in are the estimated 40,000 children living in poverty in Glasgow. 40,000, that is a number that should concern us, that we should be taking note of. Some of them are helped with holidays and gifts at Christmas by Glasgow Children’s Holiday Scheme. Today while I should have been counting bums on seats I was giving thanks for the generosity of the owners of those bums who had brought gifts for Douglas from GCHS to take back and distribute. Gifts that couldn’t all fit under the altar this year and also had to be piled high in the chancel
There is another figure I was more interested in today too. A figure even harder to accurately grasp than the SEC returns, the number of people caught up in the conflicts that currently scar the world. Today in particular those in Aleppo. It is hard to know how many have fled Aleppo, how many still remain. In all those unknown numbers in the 100’s of thousands and millions there is a number from today that is important and should have our attention – 7. Seven the number of children killed when their school was bombed. Tonight in excess of 60 held a vigil in the heart of Bearsden to be counted, counted that they stood with those in Aleppo, they mourned with those seven children’s parents and families. Stood in security to say that those 7 were and are precious in God’s sight, that the unknown number of others who still remain in Aleppo are precious and count.
That 60+ were only part of the world-wide vigil, ‘A Light for Aleppo. A Light for All’ happening tonight. People not hiding in the shadows but standing in the light to be counted, counted regardless of creed, or colour, or race, or nationality, counted as people who care, people who want a better world where children and adults can live in peace and security. People who count all as precious just as God does.
Today, despite what the forms sent back before being collated and remarked upon, might say. It is those other numbers that matter to me, and I am pretty sure that they are also the numbers that matter to God today and every day.