Well, not quite. But it does have a link to answering the question why my wife and I decided to move to the area.
My wife and I had been living in Bristol at a College house. It was near to College, Rebekah’s workplace, the conveniences of a big city and even some green space, so why would we uproot and move to out to the sticks, to Cromhall!?
Well technically, we didn’t as we now live between Cromhall and Tortworth, but you get the point. Why did we want to be local to where I was pastoring, to our Christian community? Lots of clergy don’t after all. They parachute into their communities for one reason or another (some valid and others not) vs. becoming a part of it. So why did we choose to uproot and resettle, other than to enjoy the English countryside and return to our rural roots?
It has to do with Christmas. In John 1:14, the Christmas story from John’s gospel, we read:
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we have seen His glory, glory as of the only Son from the Father, full of grace and truth. (ESV)
At Christmas we remember Jesus dwelt among us. He exchanged the glory of heaven to come and live among us to teach us, lead us by his example but ultimately to die on a cross to save sinners who would believe in Him. The original word for “dwelt” is actually taken from imagery of the Old Testament and could be literally translated “tabernacled” or “made His home”:
Then the cloud covered the tent of meeting, and the glory of the LORD filled the tabernacle.
(Exodus 40:34 ESV, cf. 1 Kings 8:10-11)
At Christmas we remember that Jesus tablernacled amongst us. In Christian speak we would call it His incarnational ministry or to put it another way, the “be with principle.” So what’s that to do with us moving? Sounds like a big leap doesn’t it?
Not at all. Consider what Peter tells elders within the Church:
shepherd the flock of God that is among you, exercising oversight, not under compulsion, but willingly, as God would have you; not for shameful gain, but eagerly; not domineering over those in your charge, but being examples to the flock.
(1 Peter 5:2-3 ESV)
To be shepherd effectively as a pastoral-elder we believe the Crockers’ need to be near, we need to be present, we must be part of the community.
Would you join us in committing to the Lord’s work here in Cromhall?
The Lord’s Sweetest Blessings,