By Emily Smith, Leeds Sanctuary
At Leeds Sanctuary, we have been reflecting on where we find God’s extraordinary in the ordinary. Some of our team and communities have shared and will share where they find something extraordinary in Leeds.
I usually start my day in the office quite early and it’s amazing what you notice when the city is a bit quieter. As I walk down Boar Lane towards our office on The Calls, I find myself thinking about all the things that have happened before I get to my current location. I think about the history of our city’s magnificent buildings, and how generations of people laid a path for the new industries and buildings which indicate the ways our city has grown. I think about the people who were awake and working much earlier than me – emptying bins, cleaning our streets, gritting our paths; the power of collective effort to prepare for visitors to our city. At this time of year, the city is buzzing; we can enjoy not only our regular shops and activities, but also Christmas markets, winter fairs and more organised socialising, which leads me to think about all the planning that has happened across the year to prepare for this season.
Of course, I also notice the need in the city. People who have no choice but to sleep on our streets, paraphernalia left over from addictions fed in the dark of night, adverts from charities who are stretched more thinly than ever to support those who need it most. It is heart-breaking to acknowledge these things, but thank God we do notice them because they should not be ordinary. I’m often left wondering how it is that we can prepare and work together so well, but so selectively; choosing time and again not to work together against the things that cause fear and devastation.
Finally, I am left with the thought that what is most extraordinary in my very ordinary day is that I am loved and accompanied by a God who is not selective. A God who “so greatly loved and dearly prized the world, that He even gave His One and only begotten Son, so that whoever believes and trusts in Him as Saviour shall not perish, but have eternal life.” (John 3:16 AMP). A God who wants me, but lets me choose Him. A God who sees everything I am, and believes I am extraordinary.
You can find our Christmas campaign on our website and social media. We hope and pray that you know what God finds extraordinary about you.