“You’ve received a free upgrade.” The words every Spring Harvester longs to hear when they arrive at Butlins. This year, for the first time in five, we were welcomed with this sentence, upgraded from standard to silver! We knew it was going to be a great week!
This is the first year we attended with two children and this meant a very different experience for us. No more after hours entertainment or leisurely lie ins, nope, up at 7.00am for breakfast in time for Big Start and back home for 9.30pm. The time in between was spent trying to persuade small children to go to their groups, going on the funfair numerous times and enduring the never ending requests for ice cream. However, all this added up to the best year we’ve had so far. What an absolute privilege to holiday, worship and learn with thousands of Christians from across the world, as well as with our own children.
The theme for 2017 was Unity under the banner ‘One for All.’ We explored John 17 with Krish Kandiah, who opened up the truths of Jesus’ final prayer. The idea that most captured my imagination was this: what if we put aside our differences, what if we agree to disagree, what if we unite in Jesus, the one whom we all strive to serve and honour and glorify? What if we were so passionate about reaching people for Jesus, about sharing his love and plan for them, that we couldn’t care less about denominations, about ‘religion’ or about which church people choose to worship at? What if we put aside our differences and put our energy into building Christ-based relationships with those we sit next to on a Sunday morning, those who worship in a different building, those who are from a different class, country or culture?
Imagine if we could offer the world a ‘free upgrade’ on their view of Christianity, the church and of God. What an incredible difference we can make, if as individual Christians, we commit to being united!