If you visited Europe for the first time, one of the initial things you’d notice (after driving on the opposite side of the road) is that the buildings are really old. As in, older than our country. Our apartment is sandwiched between two beautiful old churches. And all along the mile and a half to get into town there are at least four beautiful old church buildings… many of which sit empty, abandoned, deteriorating under the elements and years of neglect.
I think it can be easy to draw all sorts of parallels about the Church in the UK dying and decaying – and although there are certainly unique Gospel-struggles to this region of the world, I can tell you first hand, the Church in Europe is far from dead.
A few months back we had the privilege of celebrating two different baptism services – one with Cornerstone Wirral, and one with Cornerstone Liverpool. A total of ten people across both churches declaring publicly what has taken place internally. And what was amazing is the varied stories – people who were born and raised in a Christian home but strayed in later life, people who found Jesus in prison, people who heard the gospel for the first time as an adult and instantly responded in surrender. So many different stories, but a consistent thread of God meeting people exactly where they were in life. Not a formula, but God’s pursuit of an individual’s heart and life.
Once Kelly and I returned this Summer from my brothers wedding, she said to me ‘you know that song ‘Lay Me Down’? I think the people at Cornerstone would really respond to that!’ And she was right, as soon as we introduced it was clear that the lyrics and melody were saying what we needed to say as a body: ‘I lay me down I’m not my own, I belong to You alone, lay me down, hand on my heart this much is true, there’s no life apart from You, lay me down.’
And isn’t that a verbalization of what we’re doing in baptism? We’ve found new life, and the only life in and through Christ, and there is only one way to respond: in worship and surrender.
Grateful to get to see and be a part of what God is doing in Liverpool. And it’s because you pray and give, that we get this opportunity! So thank you!
Aaron + Kelly + Baby B
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PS: Here are a handful of pictures from the baptism service, as well as ‘Lay Me Down’!