The Olympic Torch

Wednesday 6th June 2012

On Monday 21st May, the Olympic Torch came to Taunton! I don't know whether you saw it - I didn't. But I did have a wonderful day on the Taunton Christians Together stall with Peggy, Jean, and Margaret, a lady from Ruishton Church.

If I am honest, I had not really wanted to be involved. But someone in the More than Gold organisation had promised that the Methodist people would provide buns for the crowds when the Torch went through the towns, and our Circuit was expected to join in.

Thanks to the response of the churches, we had been given around 300 home made buns, and so shortly after 10.30am, we were setting out our cakes on a table in Goodland Gardens, and labelling 250+ bottles of water with TCT labels.

There was a full programme of activities and parades in the town, which were attracting the crowds, including several parties of school children. As the sun came out, they were very grateful for our water and cakes, and we had pleasure in telling them that they were all free. Reactions were varied; some people refused our offer, some seemed suspicious, some insisted on giving us a donation, and the children couldn't believe their luck!

Part way through the morning I was struck by the significance of offering cool water to hot, thirsty people. We had talked on our church weekend about sacraments, and how perhaps, in addition to the more familiar church sacraments of Holy Communion and Baptism, there are many moments in each day which could be interpreted as sacramental - ordinary things which pointed beyond themselves to something more mystical and holy, signs of God's presence and love. And as the four of us stood there in the sun, handing out our ordinary water and cakes, and sharing some extra-ordinary conversations, I felt that we were experiencing sacramental moments.

As I reflected afterwards, I felt humbled that - in spite of my reluctance - God had used our efforts to touch people's lives. Even the simplest actions can become sacramental - can become channels for God's grace, and when we notice them, we say:

Surely God was in this place and I never knew it
Genesis 28:16