It’s now just over a week until we head to Catalyst Festival!
Soon, we’ll be on holiday together, worshipping alongside the whole of our family of churches, hearing from some of the most gifted teachers of God’s word in the world, with kids work like you wouldn’t believe, youth work like you wouldn’t believe, let alone all the fun of the festival feel – the live music, the different zones so you can scratch where you’re itching, the arts workshops and all the rest of it.
There’s lots of reasons to be excited.
But with all that said, we just want to acknowledge something.
We know that among our number, we might have a few mixed feelings about the Festival.
Now, some of us instinctively LOVE the Christian festival thing – it’s big, there’s loads of people, TONS of time to hang out together, GET IN!
That used to be me. I loved that stuff! But I don’t know if it’s me getting old (!) or because I’m experiencing a rapid sprint from extrovert to introvert but actually some of that stuff I can find a bit intimidating now.
I remember turning up for the first time at the Festival, and feeling a bit overwhelmed. I didn’t know where I was going, I was relatively new to the church, I didn’t know loads of people in the church, I didn’t even know we were part of Catalyst or who any of the people on the stage were! I was nervous actually.
Maybe you’re buzzing! Maybe you’ve got mixed feelings. I don’t know where you’re at with it.
But here’s the amazing thing…God knows.
God knows each of us. God knows exactly who you are, what you’re like and what you need. He knows exactly what’s been going on for you, exactly how you’re feeling, exactly how to meet with you at the Festival and exactly how not to because it’ll freak you out. He knows if the thing He’s gonna do in the festival in you is going to be at the front on a big dramatic altar call or whether it’s in a quiet conversation on the way to the venue. He knows you might need to be wise and take some time out in the afternoons to be on your own because crowds drain you, He knows. He knows exactly what you long for and what you need and has placed you not by accident but very deliberately into this church family, He’s gonna look after you. He’s gonna meet with you, He’s going to honour your faith in coming to gather with thousands of others to meet with Him.
Our confidence is not in our conversational prowess, our extroverdness or lack there of, it’s in our Good Shepherd. He knows exactly how to lead us through the Festival. He’s where our confidence is.
That being said, I think there’s two words God would want to press on us as we prepare and as we’re there.
First word is FAMILY
I want to encourage each of us there to see it as an adventure, an opportunity to be what God has made us, a family. And families include, and notice, and care. Families say sentences like:
- “We’re going here would you like to join us…”
- “Pull up a chair…”
- “Hi, can I join you?”
- “Hi, can I pull up a chair?”
- “I’m not sure what to do this afternoon, could I join you?”
Can we be a family? Or rather, can we live out the fact that God has made us family!
The other word is GRACE
I promise you that where as generally, we’re all gonna be seeking to live out our “family-ness” together, there are going to be moments where we get that wrong. Someone might steal your freezer block accidentally, or even deliberately. Someone just might in the space of four days say something that isn’t perfect. We’re the church which means we’re a family, but we’re the church which means we’re gonna mess up a bit too!!
What it would be to even in those moments, to embody the grace of God, the undeserved kindness of God, to one another?
Whether we love the big, loud vibe or have mixed feelings, imagine if we each did our bit to live as a GRACIOUS FAMILY over the Festival? That’d be a pretty special time.