route and the huge crowds that were down at the Quayside to watch Bear Grylls zipwire from the Tyne Bridge.
So why are people waiting patiently at roadsides all round the country – often in grim weather, to see someone run or
walk past with this torch - an event that is often over in a matter of seconds?
We are gathering to be part of something bigger, to witness a historic event, perhaps even to personally support the torchbearer. There are some things that simply mean more when we join together as a community. Just think of the powerful message of solidarity that came out from Wooten Bassett every time the body of a service man or woman was driven through that town. The silence and respect of that community said more than a thousand words.
As people of faith, it is important that we spend time alone with God, listening for God’s voice, even just trying to feel God’s presence. It is also part of the human condition to gather and have a shared experience. That is why being part of a faith community is a vital part of our spiritual journey. It is perfectly possible to be a Christian without being part of a community. However, it adds to our faith and enables us to gain more by having a shared experience of God through worship, serving each other and having fun. It also means that we are there for each other in the tough times too. The torch bearers do not run alone – they have a huge support crew alongside them.
This week I invite you to give thanks for all the different communities that you have been part of, which helped you to develop and grow as a person.
Thank you for being part of the faith community that I serve!