AS one of the pastors of the local Presbyterian church I was interested to read Julia Baird’s recent opinion piece (“You should go to church this Christmas, even if it’s to sleep”, The Border Mail, December 22).
I’m sorry for Julia’s impression because contrary to her claim, our church attendances continue to grow as people recognise Jesus and the Bible as the genuine truth that truly sets them free.
In reference to another story and the editorial in the same edition (“Churches aren’t sacred: leaders”), our church buildings too have been broken into twice recently.
But they are just buildings. They are certainly not and have never been sacred spaces.
To break into a church building is no different to breaking into a shop or a home.
Such actions are all symptoms of the broken-ness of our world and our lives.
It’s why the angels declared to the shepherds that the birth of Jesus Christ was such good news for all people. He is the Saviour of all who would submit to him. He’s the one who brings peace.
One thing Julia did get right was to separate institutional religion from following Jesus.
Jesus had no time for religious pretence and hypocrisy.
His invitation, which is still open: “Come to me all you who are weary and burdened and I will give you rest”.
Whether or not you find yourself in church on Christmas Day, that’s an invitation worth considering very carefully.
— PAUL SHEELY,
Albury Presbyterian Churches