I was very encouraged as I sat in a meeting looking at alcohol, binge drinking and the night-time economy the other week to hear that alcohol related crime in the UK has reduced over the last 10 years - interestingly since initiatives like Street Angels took off in greater numbers! A connection?
Easter is all about new life. This weekend we celebrate the death and coming back to life of Jesus - a moment that defines history, an event that changes things!
The message of Easter and the message of Jesus is that of God's Kingdom demonstrated as reality for people and communities on earth. A reality of peace, hope, love, joy, safer streets, renewed life - not some distant wish but here and now - 2014 in your community and your world!
The fact that alcohol reduced crime has reduced over the last 10 years is part of the Easter story! As the church (and community) move onto the streets to pray, love, serve and help, God's Kingdom is demonstrated as a reality in terms of lower crime, safer streets and the lives of many impacted and changed.
All over this nation and all over this world the Easter story will be celebrated and remembered once again this weekend. Yes there will be church services and Good Friday walks and Easter Sunrise events (along with hot cross buns and Easter eggs) but also there will be Kingdom bringing moments when: Foodbanks give out food parcels; human trafficked victims are rescued and supported; vulnerable people on the streets at night are helped by a Street Angel, Street Chaplain, Town Pastor or Street Pastor; the lonely are visited; those in debt are supported to get out of debt; the homeless are given food and a bed; and someone smiles, says hello to stranger and shows care and compassion ....
The Easter story lives on - God's Kingdom continues to be a reality - love, joy, peace, purpose for living, hope, life is yours and yours for sharing!
We challenge you to connect with the Easter and Jesus story afresh this weekend - let it define your history, let it change your world!
Paul Blakey MBE
Founder Street Angels and CNI Network