We often hear the saying ‘we are in it for the long haul’ and perhaps as we enter our sixth month of Covid-19 restrictions we have heard that saying even more. It seems that as time has gone on, folk have understandably got more tired and challenged in so many ways by the isolation and restrictions to what was their ‘normal’ life before. As individuals and as church together we can only deal now with the present circumstances especially as things seem to change at an ever increasing rate but at the same time try to plan for the future, which maybe feels more uncertain than ever. However, we do face this carrying all the experience and real difficulties of these last few months and I believe it is true to say we have all been changed by this experience and we will now look at things differently as we work towards the ‘new norm.’
We will be meeting as churches in the first week of August to consider how we start to reopen our buildings and we need to pray that we hear clearly from God as to what he is saying to us. It’s very easy to look at other churches and see that they are doing this or they are not doing that, but whilst we might learn from their experience, this is about God’s calling on us, just as it has always been in terms of our mission. That is shown in the fact that as Bilton Grange and Knaresborough churches we are one Pastorate yet two individual churches set in different contexts with different approaches to mission. So we may come out of this in different ways and in different timings but come out of it we will and with a new sense of God’s purpose for us. That said, some people may not feel able to carry on doing what they have previously done and some may feel called to different things and of course this will reflect in the direction God is calling us. This also clearly highlights that we need to be even more supportive of each other as we come out of this time and be very mindful of how the experience has impacted us as individuals, which may well manifest itself in many different ways.
So from the moment we became a Christian however long ago that maybe, we were in it for the long haul and however our faith may have fluctuated along the way, may we take great comfort and strength that God is also in it for the long haul and of course God’s time is boundless and praise God so is his love for us! Jesus said to his disciples on the mountain in his very last words recorded at the end of Matthew’s Gospel in the Great Commission “And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age”. Now is the time to rely more and more on this promise and on his everlasting presence.
Your friend and servant