Angels in the mud- August newsletter article

Angels in the mud


It’s August, so it must be festival time again.  For the last 6 years I’ve been running Festival Angels which has grown from two dozen locals serving tea and coffee to now being 170 volunteers from across the region running the Lost Property tent, caring for the lost and confused across the festival site as well as offering prayer and hot drinks in the prayer cafe.


Also this year for the first time Festival Angels is branching out into other festivals with ‘Boardmasters’ in Cornwallconfirmed and possibility for V Festivals and Download Festival next year.


It all begs the question ‘What are we doing here?’


In my Bible reading this morning Jesus arrives on the outskirts of a town to be confronted by two ‘demoniacs’.  They probably had severe mental illness of some form or other and had been ostracised by the local society.  Jesus heals them and in the process puts the fear of God into the population who beg him to leave.


This story shows two things.  Firstly, where Jesus’ compassion and priorities lie, and secondly, much of society’s response to Jesus’ priorities.


For Jesus, the locus of his ministry isn’t found in the church/synagogue or in the ‘good’ people, but in the ones on the fringes, the hurting and the sick in mind and body.  Jesus isn’t interested in staying clean, but rather seeks out the mud and the dirt, knowing that it’s in the mud that people truly need a healer.


As Festival Angels, we don’t regularly come across demoniacs, but we do find many lonely, hurting and confused young people who disguise their hurt through drink or drugs or casual sex.  They believe the church has nothing to offer them because they see church as part of the solid, staid and immovable establishment.  They don’t see the Jesus of compassion behind that church, the Jesus that has a message for them just as much as for their parents’ generation.


This then is the challenge of the Church, not just Festival Angels; to be willing to step out of the comfort zone of our buildings and our solid ways of believing, and to make the message of Jesus relevant to young people today.


Perhaps when we make it more relevant to young people we will see again the fantastic riches that there are in the message of Jesus and it will become more relevant again to us who are steeped in church, its rituals and its stolid routines and we will see the angels in the mud, and those angels will be us.