The skip had been delivered and we start a clear out.
Mostly half broken plywood chairs that needed to be laid to rest. I'm in the car park exerting myself as one by one I break the chairs into bite size pieces. I've a good technique of destruction - the pile of plywood mounts. Our community cafe is in full swing and I am drawing some attention as well as a blister or two - I wait. I know it wont be long before people come and help. I know that there are those who won't be able to resist.
First to the rescue Patrick, he joins in the carnage, then Victor - as splinters fly we talk and laugh. Patrick is keen to tell us between blows of destruction that he is one of the 'Craig twins'. Victor for once is fairly lucid. Fifteen minutes have gone and so have the chairs. Patrick almost without drawing breath is still telling me gangster stories of being a 'Craig'. Chair carnage finished I put a thankful arm around Patrick "Pat do you mean a Kray* twin...? He looks at me as if rumbled "oh yeah!"
Ann Morisy in 'Journeying Out: A New Approach to Christian Mission' makes mission connections with the concept of Social Capital – ie a level of reciprocal relationships within a locality or society. Specific reciprocal relationships which say ‘I do it for you if you do it for me’. Generalised reciprocal relationships which say ‘I’ll do it for you without expecting anything in return’.
As Victor and Patrick leave I realise that they have taught me a lesson. As church we need to put ourselves in a position to receive from people who want to give but have no-one who wants their help. We need to put ourselves in positions to allow the likes of Patrick and Victor to be able to say ‘I’ll do it for you without expecting anything in return’. So often we concentrate on what we give as church but it is also important to find ways of receiving - even from the most unlikely.
* The Kray Twins were infamous Eastend Gangsters of the 1960's - Patrick most definately was not one of them!