The following is a story from The Recovery Community at Clovercrest Baptist Church shared with me by Suz Foley.
Celebrating recovery is not meant to be a course we do or a programme we run. It’s joy in finding freedom and ultimately new life in Jesus.
There are many ups and downs in recovery, and wherever a group of people meet together, there are relationships to manage and grow. Forgiveness is needed by us all on a daily basis. As we hope and believe in the new life Jesus promised, we see beautiful things happen and people become strong and begin to flourish in their gifts.
For example, because so many people in our group are highly creative, musically and artistically, we decided to run an art exhibition at a city venue. At our opening event, our main goal was to show off our people- to let others see how much God has gifted them, and how hard they have worked to overcome their difficult circumstances.
7 artists presented 53 pieces showing their perception of self in their recovery from addiction or mental health issues but it was not a night of highlighting needs but of recognising skills, God given, and appreciating unique points of view that are creatively communicated.
We entertained “Recovery Style” too; homemade fingerfood and cunningly delicious mocktails. (We find that we are having to educate churches in the need for abstinent social occasions for the sake of people who are working on their recovery.) So we used our people’s creativity in the catering as well.It was a terrific night, a fabulous celebration of kingdom life.
Many artworks were sold, raising money for the Recovery Community, and earning some income for our artists.
Last Sunday at a Recovery Church service (a place where people in our group have the opportunity for key contribution and ownership of a service) the guest speaker told the group of 30 people gathered that, of all the services at our church, it was the Recovery Service he most wanted to be at. His only surprise was that the whole church wasn’t there, after all the Bible clearly tells us that we are all recovering people. A voice called out, ‘we’re just the honest ones!’
Thanks Suz, perhaps we all need to be a bit more honest: we are all a collection of needs and addictions and gifts and creativity. And so is every person we meet. And that should both humble and inspire us.