This Is Not The End

“Open up your heart – just one more time for me
before we turn to face reality.
Don’t stop to think this perfect chance may never come again.
This is not the end.

Let me use your ears – just for a little while 
I’ve got to find a way to make you smile”.

From “This Is Not The End” by Agent Orange.

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So we took down our “Art of Joy” art exhibition on Sunday.  It was a happy/sad thing to do. 

We have a tendency to critique things and, yet, I reckon that people’s interaction with art can achieve a million invisible things that we’ll never see or know.  So what did we set out to achieve and did we do it?

1)  We recognised that there is a lot of bad news out there.  We wanted to inhabit a physical space and create a sanctuary.  A place where people might encounter some joy through art, through space, through workshops, through music, through conversation, through random acts of kindness. 

2)  We wanted to encourage and affirm people who are trying to explore and convey what they are learning in life through creative arts.  We just wanted to recognise the good in those things and spur people on in continuing in their various forms of creativity.  If Christians are involved in those arenas then surely something of the joy and wrestling of life should emerge and, maybe, that demonstrates authenticity and relevance to those who would never darken the doors of a church?  If non-Christians are also involved, then hopefully it shows our belief in them as people and in what they create and what they have to say too.

3)  We wanted to raise some money that we could just give away to the Grassmarket Mission who support the marginalised and vulnerable of this great city we call home and love so much.

I am hugely encouraged that a small group of people caught a little vision of what this could look like and ran with it.  We all have different backgrounds and skills and certainly aren’t all involved in “the arts”.  Yet, everyone got stuck in and we worked as a team.  I’m really proud of what we achieved and, yet, I don’t want to inflate our role or become full of pride.  I’m just grateful for what I have experienced through it all.  Some of the conversations I have had and the joy I have felt will stick with me for a long time.  The ability to encorage, bless and affirm a whole bunch of people has been an honour.

Where do we go with this next?  I don’t know, but as a group we are looking closely at the whole idea of what we are terming missional expressions – actively living out loud what we believe in the ways we are wired.  In some shape or form trying to be a faith community without walls and barriers – bringing joy and good news in the places where people are at.  I have a strong feeling that, whilst it may not necessarily look the same, this is not the end…

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"The priest in the booth had a photographic memory for all he had heard. He took all of my sins and he wrote a pocket novel called "The State That I'm In"". From "The State I Am In" by Belle and Sebastian
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