Old Meeting House Congregational Church (1643)

The Best Hidden Church in Norwich


One of the things a love to do when I am on holiday is to explore the backroads by car but when I do this I often find myself in places which I don't know and roads that I am very unfamiliar. At such times I am so glad that we still have signpost - you might remember they were all removed during World War ll to confuse the enemy should they invade our country. The old wooden signposts which leaned at all sorts of angles, and were high up so that men on horseback and drivers of stagecoaches could read them easily, and the low, modern signposts with enamel plates, bearing road numbers which can be read by motorists.

During the war many people didn't realise just how much they had relied on the signposts that had been removed. Missing them, people were often in difficulties to know which way to go. I once heard the story of a school teacher who was asking his class questions, using the word "perplexed", and one boy confessed that he didn't know what the word meant. So the teacher imagined his going along a road and reaching the cross-roads. "Then", she said, "you would be perplexed as to which road you ought to take." "But", the boy replied, "at such a place as that there would be a signpost.."

Do you know who was the man in the Gospels who said that he was a signpost? It was John the Baptist. He declared that the only thing he had to do in this world was to point out to men that lead to Jesus. "No one thinks the signpost very valuable", he said. "The only thing worth while about it is that it points to the right road." So when men left him and followed Jesus, John did not worry. "I am the signpost", he said. "Jesus is the road."

The Jesus came and said, "I am the way." We are always glad to if we find a signpost at the cross-roads, but how much better it is if we find there is someone who will show us the way. Christian, in John Bunyan's Pilgrim Progress, was very perplexed which way he should go until he met one called Evangelist, who pointed out the way to him. "Do you see yonder wicket-gate?" Christian said, "No." Then Evangelist said, "Do you see yonder shining light?" And Christian said, "I think I do." Then, said Evangelist, "Keep that light in your eye, and go up directly thereto, so shalt thou see the gate, at which, when thou knockest, it shall be told thee what thou shalt do." That was very much better than just finding a signpost, was it not? Jesus does not merely say to us, "I will point out the way", but He says, "I am the way. Follow Me!"

It may seem strange to say that a man can be the way. Dan Crawford (1870-1926), the African missionary, was one day being guided along a strange road by a native guide, and the missionary was not at all sure that he was being led in the right direction . In fact, he was more than a little doubtful. "I wish I knew the way", he said. The African guide overheard him and came and pulled himself up to his full height and tapped himself on the chest. "The way?" he questioned, "the way? Want to know the way? I am the way." the knowledge he had of the country; the confidence that he could be trusted to lead the travellers safely; that was the way.

We come to the cross-road at the start of a new year when we scarcely know which way to turn, and there we find, not just a signpost but a Guide, Jesus of Nazareth, Who says, "I am the way. Follow Me!" 


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