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There’s a story told - and I take it to be a parable because I hope it’s not true - of a country church which had a creeper - perhaps an ivy plant - growing up by the porch doorway. Over the doorway was a text carved in stone, "We preach Christ crucified". Over the years the plant grew steadily and a branch gradually spread over the doorway. The first word of the text covered by the leaves of the plant was "crucified" which reduced the text to "We preach Christ". Well, we might think, that’s unfortunate but the essential part of our faith is still there. As time went on the branch spread further and covered over the word "Christ". Now, this was serious, but no-one seemed to notice, and the message of the church to the world outside was reduced to "We preach" - it had no message; the church was merely a talking shop.


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