Sunday 17 November 2013, 10.30am
Led by: David Hart
Soul Searcher was a happy bunny this morning. She met the big scary deadline (three days early, thank you very much) and for the first time in many weeks actually took a day off.
So I was in a good mood when I headed into the Hilton hotel in Grosvenor Street to attend the Edinburgh City Vineyard, a fairly new congregation that’s part of a network of UK and international churches that I’ve somehow managed not to hear of at all until relatively recently.
Vineyard has its own record label, which doesn’t mean that its music is any good. There’s not much to distinguish its praise music – led by a guitarist introduced only as “this good-looking man” – from the trendy droning heard at Hope!, Life and other strum-along churches of that ilk, and I’ve said often enough why this isn’t my kind of thing so I won’t explain why again.
You get a Vineyard CD in your welcome pack, but I’m not adding it to my iTunes library. There’s chocolate in there too, for those with a sweet tooth, and even if you’re not a first-time visitor there are doughnuts every week. It could be a dangerous church for anyone watching their waistline, and since all those weeks of deadline meeting and near immobility have not helped mine I really shouldn’t have indulged. But I did.
After 35 minutes of “worship” (definitions of which I’ve discussed before), it was time for David Hart to deliver his talk on Sharing Jesus: how do we practically do it? A believer should not assume, he said, that the onus is on other people to recognise the presence of Jesus in his/her life and to come and find out more. Rather the onus is on the believer to come out of his/her comfort zone and speak to others.
And the believer who wants to share Jesus should not do as David does with the wilting plants in his hanging basket – resentfully pour a bucket of water over them from time to time and then wonder why it just runs off the hard surface of the soil leaving the poor plants as thirsty as ever. Instead, the plants need to be fed little and often, letting the moisture soak in properly.
He cited a few bible verses (Romans 1:14 and 13:8, and Matthew 10:8), but there wasn’t a bible reading, which seemed something of an omission, but maybe they do bible study at other times during the week.
Thankfully, there was no reprise of the music after the talk. But all the people were very lovely and friendly (about 30 of them, plus some children in the next room), and if you like this style of worship they seem to be a close-knit and supportive group of folk. I was invited to join them for carol singing, which I will have to miss because of a prior engagement, and that made me realise just how soon Christmas will be upon us once again.
So, as an antidote to the Vineyard praise music, I listened to Bach’s Christmas Oratorio on my way to the supermarket – note to self for 2014: must take up choral singing again – and to Take the Floor on the way back from the supermarket – note to self for 2014: must take up Scottish country dancing again and work off that doughnut … and the rest!