Musings from the Manse – June

In this time of physical distancing and many of us spending much time, if not all our time in the same surroundings of our homes, we are going through many different feelings and at different times, with many days feeling the same yet different because of our feelings which can change sometimes even by the hour. Some are really struggling with going to work with feelings of fear and exhaustion, some are feeling anxious for the future, some are hurting missing loved ones and some are enjoying the space and time to do things around the house and reflect more. Some seem against the whole idea of lockdown, whilst some are not keen to go out at all. I am sure we could all add much to this, like those who have been saying they have had more time with their family than they have had for a long time and they have spoken to neighbours who they have never done so before.

But where has the church been in this time in all these feelings, well for some the church has been deployed as there is so much more we are doing together now in an average week than we did before, we are sharing fellowship together by internet and telephone in the true sense of the Bible’s definition of the word. But of course for others it has not been so and the loss of meeting together in the church building on Sunday morning and other times has been extremely difficult. Our work in the community through our building has been postponed, yet some individuals have been unleashed by God to serve their community in new ways.

So in all this where is God for you and for us all as church? Well for myself I have had to learn new skills and have tried to be the leader that God called and calls me to be but I too have been really challenged trying to hold all the differing views and feelings from you, together often in tension and trying to minister

to you at the same time as being aware of my own feelings. That said, from my own experience and what you have shared more openly and honestly, I have no doubt that the Holy Spirit has been moving amongst us and I thank God that He is not restricted by walls and location.

The 40 days after Jesus’ resurrection was a time to prepare his disciples for his ‘Physical Distancing’ after His ascension and for their mission to the world and maybe God is using the coinciding of this timing for us to stop and reflect on what is important to us as Christians and Church and where he is leading us. This has been confirmed to me by the progression of the encouragement each month by my UCB calendar which has used the following texts;

March

‘For everything there is a season and a time for every matter under heaven.’

Ecclesiastes 3.1 April

‘I am with you always, even unto the end of the World’ Matthew 28.20 May

‘You have armed me with strength for the battle’

Psalm 18.39 June

‘Rise up…take courage and do it.’

Ezra 10.4

God is not locked down, even if we try to contain him in our thinking, and so let’s continue to support each other and our communities as we are able and use this time seeking guidance from God on where he is calling us next, so when we come out of this period we move swiftly as one with hearts on fire in the power of the Holy Spirit that came at Pentecost and continues to be with us 24/7.

I came across these questions from our Anglican colleagues in Christ in the Leeds Diocese which may help us all in our reflection and prayer.

· What have I/we lost in the last two months that must remain lost?

· What has been lost in the last few months that we must regain in the weeks and months ahead?

· What has been gained in the last few months that must now be retained or developed?

· What has been gained that was fine for ‘the season’ but can now be lost?

Your friend and servant

Alan

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