The two main sessions at Spring Harvest are the morning Bible study and the evening worship. Both are held in the Big Top, which is a large blue marquee that can seat roughly 4,000 people. This week so far the Big Top has been full for both the morning and the evening sessions.
Now I am assuming that most of the 4,000 who gather morning and evening are followers of Jesus who are seeking to follow Him closer and serve Him better. Why else would folk come to a Butlins’ holiday camp on the cold East Coast of England in April to live for a few days in rather close quarters with other family members and friends, putting up with beds that are less comfortable than those at home?
The Welfords come for several reasons, not least because we actually enjoy being with our family. We like being by the sea despite the Skegness weather (which can on occasions be unseasonably warm). We come because we want to worship God with fellow believers and without inhibition, and because we want to grow in our faith and grow closer to God.
The problem is that none of the worship or learning or growing in God is any of use if we do nothing with it when we leave Spring Harvest to return to our normal daily lives. I was challenged about this in just a few words that Archbishop of York John Sentamu said as he began to teach us on the evening of Tuesday 11 April. The Archbishop told us that we have to make Jesus visible.
Entering the Big Top on the Tuesday evening we had all been handed lemons as part of a fundraising effort by Samaritan’s Purse – ‘when life gives you lemons God can use them to change lives’ (click here to find out how). The Archbishop had not received a lemon but he commented that when lemons are squeezed we get lemon juice. He then said that when a Christian is squeezed we should get Jesus. Is that what happens in our lives?
When I look around the Big Top at Spring Harvest I can see joy on many faces. I can see many hands raised in worship. And there is something powerful when 4,000 voices join together to praise God. But what troubles me is when I don’t see the same joy after the worshippers exit the Big Top. The hustle and bustle around the Spring Harvest site seems no different to the hustle and bustle in any town or city centre as people go about their daily lives with little demonstration of joy.
Brothers and sisters in Christ can I ask you how the joy of knowing Jesus is displayed in your lives? Is it visible only when you gather with other Christians, or is Jesus visible in you all through the week? And is Jesus visible in you when you are squeezed?
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavour? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father. (Matthew 5:13-16 NLT)