Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Newspaper article Evening Chronicle (Newcastle, England)

Church Matters

Article excerpt

Byline: By Francis Wood

This is the WAY

No swearing and no spitting. Years ago, those two notices greeted me as I boarded the tram to take me to school. To be honest, it never occurred to me to spit or to swear. In those days we had a conductor keeping order and we wouldn't have dared offend him!

The incident came back to me when I visited our local clinic for some advice. As I sat in the waiting room I faced a notice board with the prominent order, do not put your chewing gum under the seats. Carefully I ran my hand under my seat but found none. The notice was clearly having its effect.

I am rapidly coming to the conclusion today that we need to rediscover the Direct Order. Anyone who has served in the Army or Navy knows that there is but one response to the Direct Order. It is immediate, whole-hearted obedience and it is lacking in today's society. There is too much swearing and even some spitting going on. But we are not being told that it is unacceptable. On our buses and trains there are no such notices, so many people simply do not know that this is bad behaviour. On the Metro the notice please keep your feet off the seats is too apologetic and people just ignore the request.

We should be prepared to accept Direct Orders in the Church too. Jesus our Lord gave us two of them. He told his followers, "Go and Baptise," and "Do this in remembrance of me." He didn't expect the disciples to have a meeting to decide whether they were prepared to accept this instruction. He didn't add, if you don't mind. He expected them to obey because he knew it was good for them. It is when the Church fails to obey such direct orders that things start to go wrong.

More direct instruction and obedience are needed today. That is the Way and it's up to us to walk in it.


It's always good to hear that the Church and the local community are working well together. …

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