Stainforth Church: Ordinary Time

I recently called at St Peter’s Church at Stainforth in North Yorkshire. Now regular readers will know that most of the places at which I call will usually supply some material about which to write in this blog. Sure, sometimes it is a bit of a scraping of the barrel, but some spiritual point or homely lesson can be based upon thar obscure church or remote chapel. I have scratched my heard regarding St Peter’s and have some up with nothing. I have concluded that it is just an very ordinary English parish church. There is nothing there that is particularly historical, or moving, or controversial. It is probably run and attended by a small group of committed folk who have a sincere form of godliness, who would be sorry to see it close during or after their watch. It is so perfectly ordinary and unremarkable.

This actually describes most Christians. Most of God’s redeemed people are Joe Meatballs and Sally Housecoats. Not many of us are noble, or wise, or learned. Few among us are the Countesses of Huntingdon or great poets like Cowper, or wealthy businessmen like Sir John Laing. We are thoroughly commonplace and unremarkable. This actually bespeaks God’s amazing grace. He does not prioritise the pretty, the smart, the urbane. He does not only seek those who are eloquent or educated, for He most often saves the boring, the dull and the regular, such as I. Little wonder that many of those buildings bearing His name are equally bereft of the exciting and the exotic. Angels may wonder at His strange choices, but we wonder at His amazing grace.